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Summary: God in his mercy and grace hears us, renews and restores us, when we are broken and repentent.

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The Season of Lent… is something of a roller coaster ride in which we confront our own sinfulness in light of the suffering of Christ. And yet during this time of introspection we are also keenly aware of how the story ends with Christ’[s victory over sin and death. This morning we begin the Season with a sense of brokenness and repentance.

Title: Luggage Longing to Be Lost

Text: Psalm 51:1-17

Thesis: God in his mercy and grace hears us, renews and restores us when we are broken and repentant.

Introduction

I remember on episode of Seinfeld where Jerry and Elaine were flying to Miami. They were checking their bags curbside and Jerry asked the Skycap what kind of tip is generally appropriate for his services. The Skycap said, “I am usually tipped $5 per bag.” Jerry then happily tipped the Skycap but Elaine had a hissy fit… “Five dollars a bag… five dollars a bag to attach a flight destination tag and put it on the cart? You’ve got to be kidding!” At that point Jerry took her by the arm and drug her away. Then the Skycap took Jerry’s bag and said, “Miami,” and placed it on the cart of luggage to Miami and then he said, “Honolulu,” and placed Elaine’s bag on the Honolulu cart.

When you arrive at your destination and make your way to baggage claim you expect your stuff to be patiently making its way around the suitcase carousel. And if it isn’t there… things go south very quickly.

The airlines tell us that 99.5% of all bags are successfully picked up by their owners. Only .5% of all bags go missing and 95% of those stray bags make it home within 5 days. However the miniscule few actually total thousands of pieces of luggage, Those bags are shipped to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama where the bags are opened and the contents sorted and sold to the public in a 50,000 square foot warehouse.

As you can imagine those bags contain lots of treasures but also some things are best left unclaimed… dead things, stinky and smelly things, dirty things, obscene things and even live snakes.

When we speak of someone who has a lot of baggage or comes with a lot of baggage we are not thinking of baggage as a good thing. And if truth be told, many of us have baggage in our lives that we would like to ship to the Unclaimed Baggage Center.

King David was a man who had a lot of baggage… you can pick up his baggage in II Samuel 11-12:

Perhaps David was tired of war and just wanted to stay home. We don’t know but we do know, as it says in II Samuel 11, “In the spring of the year when kings normally go to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. “

The story goes that one day following his midday rest he walked onto the roof of his palace and looked out over the city and saw a beautiful woman bathing. He sent someone to find out who she was and learned that she was the wife of Uriah (who was conveniently away at war). He sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace he slept with her.

Soon after she returned home she discovered she was pregnant and sent word to David to the effect that he was going to be a new daddy. So David sent word to the battle front to have Uriah sent home to tell him how the battle was progressing and while he was home David suggested Uriah go on home and spend the night with his wife. But Uriah refused to go home and be with his wife while all his comrades in battle were at war. So David sent Uriah back to the front and instructed his commanding officer to send Uriah into the thickest part of the battle where he would be killed. And he was… So then David brought Bathsheba into his palace and made her his wife.

That’s when God sent Nathan the Prophet to see David. He told David the story of a very rich man who had hundreds of sheep and cattle and of poor man who had only one sheep that he loved very much. One day a guest came to the rich man’s house and rather than the rich man killing one of his own lambs to feed his guest, he killed the poor man’s lamb for the feast.

Immediately David went into a rage and demanded to know who the rich man was. Whoever did such a thing deserved to die. That’s when Nathan said to David, “You are that man!”

David was busted big time!

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