Summary: To know the unmerited love of God leads to repentance and new life.
Reformation Sunday October 30, 2005 “Series A”
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for all your many blessings upon us, especially for the gift of your Son, Jesus the Christ, who, through his life, death and resurrection here on this earth, has revealed to us the nature of your love, the forgiveness of our sins, and the assurance of life eternal in your heavenly kingdom. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, increase in us an appreciation for your redeeming grace, and a desire to walk humbly in relationship with you as disciples of Christ. Amen.
I would like to begin my message this morning by sharing with you a story that was told by Pastor Tim Zingale, to illustrate his sermon entitled, Saved by Grace Through Faith SermonCentral.Com.
“There once was a boy named Roy, who desperately wanted love and attention from his parents, but he really didn’t know how to receive it. As a result, Roy got into a lot of trouble. He found that he got plenty of attention from his parents for all the trouble that he caused, which seemed close enough to love for a ten-year old boy.
Every time he got into trouble, his parents would question him long and hard, trying to find out his reasons for the way he acted. ‘Why did you do that, Roy? What’s wrong?’ they would ask. But Roy would just stare at the floor, not answering, not looking at his parents. Finally, his parents would say, ‘You know we will have to punish you for this.’
Roy knew this, and was expecting it. He was familiar with punishment and knew how to cope with it. There would be no TV, no desert after supper, and he would have to stay home after school for a few weeks. Roy never seemed to mind the punishment. It was just a part of getting his parents attention.
One night, Roy’s parents received a phone call from the police. The officer informed them that Roy and some other boys had vandalized the school. They had been caught in the midst of trying to set a fire in one of the classrooms. Roy’s parents rushed to the police station, and talked to the lieutenant in charge for over an hour. Finally, Roy was released into their custody, after they had agreed to help pay for the damages.
The ride home from the police station was silent. Roy sat between his parents in the front seat, waiting, but no one spoke. When they got home, Roy went to his room and waited for his parent’s usual lecture and the terms of the punishment. Finally, his mother came in, looked at Roy, and said simply, ‘You’ve really hurt us tonight.’ Then she left the room.
Later, Roy’s father came into his room and asked , ‘Roy, do you have homework to do.’ The question took him by surprise. ‘What? Uh, yes, I guess so.’ ‘Well, you’d better get it done.’ Then his dad left the room, leaving Roy staring at his book, wondering what was wrong. At bedtime, his parents came in again. They brought him a snack, and told him that when he had finished eating, he needed to turn out the lights and get some sleep. Then they left, without saying another word.
Roy ate his snack, turned out the lights, and laid on his bed for nearly an hour, but he couldn’t sleep. Finally, he jumped up, ran out his room, down the stairs and jumped into his mommy’s lap, crying his heart out. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I’ve been so bad. Please forgive me.”
Roy’s parents held him for a long time, shedding a few tears of their own. Out poured all the years of hurt, the need of love and attention, as his parents told him over and over again how much they loved him, in spite of all the things that he had done to disappoint them. That night, Roy finally learned to receive the love and forgiveness his parents felt for him.” End quote.
I think many of us can relate to this story. I know I can. As I think back over my childhood, there have been numerous times that I have done things that I knew were wrong, and I know had to have hurt my parents. And I have known their forgiveness, their love for me, as I expressed my sorrow for my actions.
But more importantly, I believe this story expresses the dynamic of the struggle that Luther encountered, which led to his discovering the truth of the Gospel, and the Reformation of the church, which we celebrate today.