A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

CONFESSION and FORGIVENESS

Gathering Song                 “Lord of All Hopefulness”               red book # 765

GREETING

KYRIE                                                                    red book page 98 (set 1)

Canticle of Praise                                              red book page 101(set 1)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ZECHARIAH 9:9-12

PSALM 145:8-14

ROMANS 7:15-25a

MATTHEW 11:16-19, 25-30

SERMON                                                             Pastor Chris Halverson

Dear Siblings in the faith,

I Paul write to you once again, for I believe you need yet another metaphor for Sin. I have already told you it is like an enslaving contract, but today, I wish to tell you about Sin another way, that you might more fully feel the insidious nature of sin, and understand the way in which you are trapped.

Sin is a parasite. Your Pastor, Pastor Chris, once told you about the Holy Spirit—the Paraclete, and how it was like a Paramedic, Paralegal, and Parallel… perhaps you’ve grasped that the pre-fix Para means beside. And if so, you no doubt know that a Parasite comes from Para-Sitos—Eating at another’s table.

And that’s just what Sin does. It lives by living in another creature—using it.

Sin is a parasite—such creatures were unknown in my time—but through your natural sciences are now well known. They are creatures that infect hosts and use them to live and reproduce. In extreme cases you get parasites like Toxoplasmosis, which can only reproduce in cats, so they infect mice and birds, scramble their brains, and make them unafraid of cats, which leads to their host’s death and the parasite’s life.

 

Yes, Sin is just such a parasite, with no life or strength of its own, save infection and manipulation.

And know this, Sin has infected the Law and infected your Flesh.

 

Now, when I say that Sin has infected the Law, you as a Gentile Church—that is a non-Jewish Christian Congregation, may hear something heading toward heresy—you may assume the Law of Moses is a throw away, or even you may make a simple equation of my warning of infection—you may say “Law=Sin.”

This is by no means true!

Instead, the Law has been infected by that parasite Sin… in fact, I’d venture if you looked at any law, those of Moses or those of any other peoples, including your own, with careful eyes, you’d see Sin’s sinister hold upon it.

But, let’s stick with Moses’ Laws… I know in my bones—if not in literal history—that God said “Take Anything But This”… and I, we, coveted that thing immediately. Sin swept into that Command of God and commandeered it.

It said, “Really? Not even a little taste? Not even a little lie? Not even a small death?”

At the same time as it chipped away at it, it also built up the Law—making it more than it was, “Don’t just avoid this sin, avoid nearness to it at all costs!”

Like cattle being rustled, it used the Law to chase me—one way, then another—it shouted, “Never! Never!” and “Just a little! Just a little!” until I nearly exploded. Popped like a pimple—my worst self revealed and inflamed.

Yes, the Holy Law of God—reprogrammed to do me ill!

How much more then the Laws of men? Imagine what Sin can do with them!

 

And so too, my own Flesh

—Am I not of the Earth—this good home of ours?

Has it not been said that we are the height of the created order?

Are we not little lower than angels?

For that matter, do I not have a moral compass? Do I not hear my conscience guiding me?

I do!

I really do!

Yet, hear I as well the parasite disrupting paradise. The very good I am granted in my soul sloshes away from me. I am stuck!

I wish to paddle toward the North Star, but instead I choose to sink my boat!

I know what is life giving, yet I give into death—for Sin uses me—riding roughshod over my better self!

 

I, Paul, have experienced the Tempest released when these two goods—Law and Flesh—are infected, when the Parasite Sin sends them a clashing against one another!

I heard the early church—they preached Jesus as Lord and Messiah—the Blessed One, the Savior.

But I knew the Law. “All who die upon a tree are accursed.”—Deuteronomy 21:23. So says the Law!

Infected with Sin, the Law blinded me to its central command—“Love God, Love Neighbor.”—Deuteronomy 6:5.

Infected with Sin, my Flesh took it several steps further—I first held coats as Stephen was stoned to death for his faith.

I then, with great zeal and righteousness

—as a religious duty, to fulfill the Law of God

—went and persecuted the Church of God.

 

See how that all worked? Sin stunted the Law of God and lived in my most religious self. It infected us both—taking our best, so that it might be embittered and become our worst.

Wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Amen.

HYMN of the DAY                “Light Dawns on a Weary World”             red book # 726

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY

 

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, red book # 697, red book # 770

 Sending

Blessing

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG            “If You But Trust in God to Guide You”          red book # 769

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

Advertisements