Your heart is troubled, because you are longing for home; which is really to say that you are longing for life with God.
But you find yourself wandering and wondering, curious and confused. You don’t know where you’re going, nor the way. You experience yourself to be a stranger and an alien, separated from God, lost and alone, far away from home, because of sin; because of doubt, denial, disobedience and rejection of God’s Word.
Take heart, dear one. Be at peace, and do not be afraid.
Your home is where Christ Jesus is. He has prepared a place for you — by His Incarnation, by His Cross, and in His Resurrection and Ascension. Indeed, Christ Himself is your Place, where you belong; He is your true Home, your Life with His God and Father forever. This not only in your heart and soul, but first of all in your ears; then also in your mouth and in your body.
Already here and now, you are at home with God in Christ Jesus — by His grace alone, through faith in His Word. And so shall you be at home with God hereafter, forever and ever, in Christ.
In His Incarnation, He has come close to you, and He has become like you in every way, save sin. And He has perfectly united God and Man in Himself, in His own Body of flesh and blood.
By His Cross and Passion, in His own flesh, He has undone and rectified the separation of sin, so that all mankind is reconciled to God in Him.
In His Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father, He has raised man to life with God — in the flesh — in righteousness, holiness and blessedness forever.
In all of this, the Word and work of the incarnate Son, you behold the true heart, the gracious good will, and the divine nature of the Father. You know and love, and believe in the one true God and Father, by this way and means of the one true God, the Son.
How then do you know the Son and believe in Him?
It is by His Word, and by the works that are done in His Name.
That is how the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ did the same and even greater works than He had done; because they preached and performed, in His Name, the accomplished Word and work of His Cross, and thus distributed the fruits of His Resurrection from the dead.
They preached heaven on earth. They preached God the Father in His Son, Christ Jesus, and so the blessed life and forgiveness of His Holy Spirit, through the Holy Gospel.
In remembering and giving thanks for the Holy Apostles, for St. Philip and St. James, though we know very little about them, we remember and give thanks for Christ Jesus, our Savior; and in Him, we know and love our Father in heaven.
For the whole Christian Church, the House of God, is built upon the foundation of the Holy Apostles, of which Christ Himself is the Cornerstone, who gives shape and stability to the whole.
You live and abide within that House, and thus you live and abide with Christ in God, by the Word and work of the Apostolic Ministry: the same preaching and performance of the Gospel.
It is by that Word and work of the Gospel that God abides with you in love; and by faith in that Word of the Gospel that you abide with God in peace and hope.
It is by faith in His Word, and not by sight, because you live and walk by the way of Christ the Crucified through this valley of sorrow to your eternal home in heaven.
So you carry the Cross and go to your death, as Christ and His Apostles did, in the faith and hope of His Resurrection. You wait upon the Justice of God the Father, who will raise you also in the righteousness of Christ.
For now, you live in the wilderness, surviving on the water of oppression and the bread of privation (irrespective of your temporal circumstances). But surviving, nonetheless, in the household and family of God, in which your Teacher makes Himself known through the preaching of His Word and His gracious work.
You know where you are going, and you know the way; not because you have found it or figured it out, but because He is the Way, and He has found you. He has already gone the way of the Cross for you, and by it He has opened the Way of Life with God for you. Your sin no longer separates or prevents you from God, but in Christ you are already safely at home with Him.
Let not your heart be troubled. Eat the Bread of Christ the Crucified, with which your Father feeds you, here at His Table in His House. For you are His dear child, and this is your home.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sermon for 12/21/14: Advent IV
48 minutes ago