“He Has Done All Things Well” Mark 7:37, Isaiah 35:4-7a
The 16th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 9/9/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL
Of all the churches to have a “Rally Day.” A Lutheran Church? A Lutheran congregation? Missouri Synod no less! Really? The idea of Lutherans getting excited, enthusiastic, all pumped up and primed, can seem more than just a little far-fetched.
But here it is! Rally Day at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lockport, Illinois. So, what does it consist of? Our “rallying” that is? And why do we rally?
Well, let’s take the last question first. We rally, in part, because the world around us gets us down. It incessantly seeks to drag us down. It… this world… our society… and things happening in this very country… can leave us downright depressed… sad and forlorn.
You look what is happening in our towns and cities… on our streets, at our borders, on the sports field… on television… in the halls of congress… in public restrooms, classrooms and courtrooms… in clinics and on campuses and you wonder, has everyone gone mad? Are they out of their minds?
Their right mind? The answer is yes… most of them… the increasing majority of people. All who are without the mind of Christ… the divinely renewed heart and mind that is loving, caring, unselfish and selfless, civil, kind, clean, pure and holy. Where are these things… these qualities… these people… Godly people?
They’re there… here… thankfully. But few… fewer… and increasingly more so in the minority as the darkness of sin deepens… as these end times that we are in, draw to a close.
Why do we rally? Why do we draw close to one another here, now… in this place? Is it because there is sheer strength in numbers? No, not really. As Holy Scripture makes perfectly clear, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
No… we do not rally because there is strength in numbers. For there is no number great enough. Rather, we rally… here… right here… to be in the presence of one… just one… namely our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And this, because we have come to know that there is strength in Christ and only Christ. There is comfort and consolation in Christ… forgiveness and a perpetual cleansing in Christ. He who “has done all things well” as our Gospel text notes. (Mark 7:37)
He… Jesus… makes the deaf hear and the mute speak. He… Jesus… makes the lame walk. He… Jesus… sets the captive free. That would be you, me, all people, everywhere… free from the curse of sin and the clutches of death and the devil.
Indeed, all we need do is gaze upon the cross and we likewise declare that “He has done all things well.” And this, in regard to the past, but also the present and the future. Jesus IS doing all things well and WILL DO all things well throughout eternity… and certainly during the few remaining days before He comes again in glory.
I need not tell you that there is very much of a heightened level of angst right now among many people. More and more people expressing concern over what is going on and how it will all play out… turn out. It is like ugliness on steroids!
But for us and all the faithful… all who continue to rally under the cross of Jesus… all fear is gone. Anxiety is gone… done away with… taken care of… on the cross of Jesus… by Jesus… our dear Savior, Lord and King who soon… so very soon… comes in judgement upon the world and yes, this society and country if they even still exist. Amidst the shouts of terror that will be heard will come the declaration of the faithful and the few, “He has done all things well!”
How well? We read in our Old Testament lesson: “Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.”
And so, the answer to why we rally here… now… today and every day… is because we know… we count on… we heartily confess that “our help is in the name of the Lord” and in no other… none other!
As for what our rallying really entails… there is not hooting and hollering… jumping up and down… but rather reverent rejoicing as we come into the very presence of God and receive from Him the cleansing, comforting and strengthening we need to continue on in our journey here below.
And this, my friends, as the phrase “fighting the good fight of faith” takes on even a greater reality, meaning and import.
It will be this way for you and me in the weeks and months ahead… and even more so for our children and our children’s children and what they will encounter and face. But fret not. As they are brought up in the Word and ways of the Lord, they too will say of the Lord, “He has done all things well!” And all God’s children here on earth and those already in heaven will continue to rejoice and say, “Amen.”