Posts Tagged ‘Redeem’


February 18, 2013

Grace mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

            Like many of you today, I will never forget the moment I realized my own mortality. I can’t remember where we were exactly. I can’t remember who told us, but I remember I was fourteen. Sure, I had been to more than my fair share of funerals as a PK. I had seen more dead people at that age than I wanted to; people who died from natural causes to random massive heart attacks to head on collisions… I knew what death was. I didn’t like it. But it was always older people or people I didn’t know, someone on the news far away from me. 

            But this was different. I knew Andrea. Andrea’s dad and my dad had classes together at the seminary. Andrea and I had fought side by side in the largest water war in the history of Concordia Seminary.

            But I can still hear it, “Andrea was killed in a car accident,” and “it was somebody driving a stolen car”. The words “she was just 16” still echoes in my ears.

            I’ve heard the same echoes this week. “She was just 17”. Since Stacey’s death, I have been hearing questions of why would God take her from us?

            I know that Stacey’s parents prayed for her every day. For her safety. For her well being. 

                I prayed scriptures with Stacey’s family. “How long, LORD, must I call for help,
   but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!”  but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?  Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me;  there is strife, and conflict abounds.

            Today’s text is from Job. It was Stacey’s favorite verse. Stacey chose this verse for her confirmation banner and she sang a choir solo of Handle’s rendition of this verse.

            “I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last day, he will stand upon the earth.” This is the message for us today.

            Job says that God took all his things from him and then threw him into the mud. Job said he made a covenant with his eyes and God still showed wrath on him.

            Job said “Oh, that I had someone to listen to me. Let the almighty answer me.”

                              “Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice Job cried out to no reply.

            The entire book of Job, God gets a couple lines at the beginning, but then he’s silent for the next 37 long grueling chapters. Job is reliving over and over again the affliction that has come on him. His family dead.  His wealth, decimated.

            Why did God allow this to happen to Job?

            Out of the depths , Job cries out that he knows that his redeemer lives. But what Job is really calling for is an umpire. Job feels that God is throwing his weight around and Job knows he doesn’t stand a chance. Job is hoping for someone to throw a yellow card or a red card (soccer reference) so that the fight is at least fair. Without a Redeemer, defender, or umpire, Job has nothing. Perhaps, Job thinks that on the last day, on his dying day, he might have a chance and the umpire will stand with him.

            Why did God allow this to happen?

            The almighty God in all his power has told the oceans to go this far. He has given orders to the morning. Yet, the world is not how he made it. The world is so far from the perfection God created it. And when evil befalls us, God knows our hurts better than we do.

            God saw the earth when it was very good. God saw when people didn’t die needlessly. God has been hurting since the fall and he is more frustrated by the unfairness of sin sickness and death and dying than we could even imagine. God is grieving with us about Stacey.

            But since the fall, God promised an umpire. God promised somebody to level the playing field.  Jesus was marched to a trial and to his own crucifixion. Jesus hung and died on the cross to level the playing field so that we have an advocate with the Father.  Jesus leveled the playing field to be the vindicator that Job foresaw. “I know that my redeemer… I know that my vindicator lives and on the last day he will stand… But our Redeemer… our Vindicator… does not just stand on the last day… he stands today.

            You see, God was not aloof when Stacey’s family prayed for her. God in his mercy leveled the playing field when Stacey was brought to the waters of baptism. Through baptism, Stacey was buried with Christ in his death. Through baptism, Stacey was raised to new life. A life with Christ. A life forever.

            God leveled the playing field by the body and blood of Christ. Stacey was joined into the body of Christ and was strengthened and preserved to life everlasting. On the last day, Stacey will be raised from the dead and live in perfection forever because God gave us an umpire to level the playing field.

            We have hope that on the last day, because of our faith in our great umpire… our great vindicator… our great Redeemer… We have hope that on the last day Jesus will stand for us.

            Jesus stands to be our umpire to level the playing field. To bring us hope that we stand a chance in this crazy world, now and forever.

            Now the peace, that passes all human understanding, guard our hearts and minds.