Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
This Tuesday, June 25, was a significant date in more ways than one. First, on this date in 1530, some princes of northern Europe signed a document to answer the questions of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, about the Lutheran movement. Carlos asked, what is this? A new church? A new religion? They said in this document, written with the help of the theologians of the University of Wittenberg, certainly not. We believe in the ecumenical creeds of the ancient church, also in salvation by faith alone and by grace alone, and only in the Holy Scriptures as the source of doctrine. They presented this document to Charles V in the city of Augsburg in Germany.
As part of that meeting, the Emperor ordered them to march in a Corpus Christi procession, with the host mounted on a staff. But the princes told him, according to our confession, the host does not have supernatural properties apart from its use in the sacrament. We must not worship the visible elements of the sacrament outside the sacrament. And when Carlos threatened them with the sword, they knelt before the emperor and said, Lord, you must cut off our heads before we do something against the Word of God. The point for us is the princes did not take for granted the gift of the Word and the sacraments, but they were ready to die for this gift.
Second point: On this date in 2005 the first person was baptized in the Mission La Epifanía de La Caramuca. Sadly, Elías Isaac Montoya Santana is not with us today, because his family went to Peru. But, he was the first and then many others asked to receive the baptism and the sacrament. This is how our mission began, with more than 20 baptisms and more than 20 confirmations in 14 years.
Many of these members of our mission are not present today. In some cases, like that of Elías, their families left the country for Peru, Ecuador or Colombia. But, others are still in this community, so they are taking the gifts of God for granted.
The invitation to baptism and Holy Communion is the same invitation to the great banquet in our text for today.
"A man made a great supper, and invited many, and at the time of supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for everything is ready, and they all began to make excuses."
The great supper in this parable is a symbol for worship and communion with God forever in heaven. The messengers sent to deliver the invitation are the ministers of the church. God has invited the whole world to baptism, and the purpose of baptism is to bring the children of God to the table of the Lord. And at the Lord's table we anticipate the eternal feast that God has promised us through the blood of Christ.
However, many people have other priorities in this life and take for granted the gifts of faith and eternal life. But, God is patient and merciful. Our duty as the church is to stay here for those who remember their baptismal covenant and want to walk in communion with the church and Christ again. The civil government has the right to use force of arms to control the behavior of the wrongdoers, but the church does not have the right of the sword. We can only invite and welcome people to the house of God time after time. We offer the Word of God and the Lord's Supper every Sunday.
And I have not forgotten any of those who have been baptized and have received the sacrament here, whether they are present today or not. I want everyone to enjoy eternal life and as a pastor one day I must give an account of all who have been members of the mission. Therefore, I pray every day for all among the trials and difficulties of this life.
But, we can not receive the gifts of God and live in sin without repentance at the same time. And the day is coming soon when the doors will be closed.
"And when the servant returned, he told these things to his master. Then the father of the family was angry and said to his servant, Go quickly through the streets and squares of the city, and bring here the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind: and the servant said, Lord, it is done as you commanded, and there is still room, and the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Because I tell you that none of those men who were invited will enjoy my dinner. "
This is the warning in this text. After this time of grace comes the judgment. All the posts in the banquet will be filled, but not all the guests will taste the Lord's supper, neither here nor in heaven. Those who recognize and repent their sins have the certainty of the promise to the end. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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