Summary: A sermon for Reformation Sunday
"Saved by Grace through faith"
"There once was a boy named Roy, who wanted love and attention from his parents, but really didn’t know how to receive it. So, Roy got into a lot of trouble. He got plenty of attention for all the trouble he caused, which is close enough to love for a 10 year old boy.
After each time he got into trouble, his parents would question him long and hard, trying to find out the reasons for his bad behavior. "Why did you do it, Roy? What’s wrong?" Roy would just stare at the floor, not answering, not looking at his parents.
"You know we will have to punish you for this," they would say. He knew this and was expecting it. He was familiar with punishment and knew how to cope with it. There would be no TV, no dessert after supper, he would have to stay at home after school for weeks at a time. Roy never seemed to mind the punishment; he never seemed sorry for what he did; and he always went to trouble-making. His parents didn’t know what to do.
One nigh Roy’s parents received a phone call. It was from the police. The phone call said that Roy and some other boys had vandalized a school; they had been caught in the act of trying to set a fire. The parents rushed to the police station and talked with the lieutenant in charge. Roy was released into their custody after they agreed to help pay for the damages.
The ride home was silent. Roy sat between his parents in the front seat, waiting, but no one spoke. When they got home, he sat in his room, waiting for their usual lecture and punishment. His mother came in, then his father,"Do have homework to do, Roy?" The question took him by surprise. "What? Uh, yes, I guess no." "Then you’d better do it." The they left the room with Roy staring at his book wondering what was wrong.
At bedtime, they cam in again, "It’s time for bed, Roy. Here is a snack, we’ll be back to say good night in a few minutes. " They leave again. they had never acted like this before, though Roy. He wondered what was going on, no lecture, no punishment, no yelling, no question, nothing.
They came back a while later, tucked Roy into bed and said, "Good night, son; sleep well," turned off the light and left the room. Roy laid there, he couldn’t take it any longer, he jumped out of bed, ran out of the bedroom down the stairs and jumped into his mommy’s lap crying, "I’m sorry; I don’t mean to be so bad; I’m sorry, I’m sorry." They held him and comforted him for a long time. Out poured all the years of hurt, anger, and the need of wanting attention. His parents told him over and over again how much they loved him, loved him in spite of all the bad things he did. Roy felt better being truly sorry for all he did, and he enjoyed the love and forgiveness his parents were showing him."
As you listened to the story, could you find yourself in it?? Who are you? Were you Roy, or were you the parents? Or were you both? Who are you??
As I listened to that story, I found myself relating to both Roy and the parents. Yes, both, because I do sin, I do things wrong, at times not knowing why, or because I do want attention. At the same time, I want to be loving and forgiving to those who hurt me. I want to be loved and forgiven.
These truths concerning our doing wrong, or being a sinner, and being loved and forgiven by God and other are the cornerstone of our celebration of the REFORMATION.
For Luther, every human being is a saint and a sinner at the same time. A saint, meaning one who has been brought into a relationship with God, a believer. A sinner, one who still falls far short of all that God want from those who are his children. A sinner is one who know sins, who feels regrets, who knows he/she has sinned against God and other human beings.
Our lesson from Romans reminds us of this position in which we find ourselves. Paul says: "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.....since through the law comes knowledge of sin."
The law convicts us of our sin. The law meaning the 10 commandments and those civil laws under which we live. When we are honest with ourselves, we know we are not all that God intends for us to be. We sin. We feel guilty. We feel bad. Paul says in Romans 8: "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is which I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me." No matter how good we perceive ourselves to be, no matter how arrogantly proud we are of our actions, when we look squarely in the mirror and look honestly at ourselves, we see someone who sins.