Summary: A day where faith is confirmed!
Feast of Pentecost - May 27th
† In the Name of Christ †
Rejoice – for grace and peace are yours, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
The joy of a homecoming!
As the convoy made it’s way up the grade, the call would go out. People would stop their negotiating business deals, they would cease their important phone calls, and run outside. Traffic would stop – and pull over, their drivers and passengers would gather together with the people leaving businesses, and stores, and restaurants. The local radio station – would have it’s owner describing the homecoming welcome – broadcast from his pick-up truck.
It was a homecoming. The Marines and Sailors of 1/7 were back, after their first tour through Iraq. Our guys were home! This was truly special for some that were close to us. for Sue would soon greet her husband Dennis, a master sergeant with a hug that would crush his ribs. The nurse from our doctor’s office, was in tears, as her husband, a WO(2) returned home with his armored recon unit. Becka’s Brian would be back as well. All else was forgotten, as they said some 40,000 people lined the road from Morongo Valley, to the base in 29 Palms. They were the first troops back! The emotions of the day were high, our men and women were home! The scene would be replayed over and over again since then, and though the crowds may be somewhat less, but the feeling is the same, as the white busses, and humvees, and armored personnel carriers travelled at 20 miles an hour through the 4 towns of the basin. I can’t remember the date – but I can remember where I was standing, and the faces of the guys, as they finally could relax – safe at home.
Homecomings are awesome things – so awesome! On this memorial day, it seems right, to use the homecoming of the faithful marines and sailors to illustrate the joy of an even more incredible homecoming – the homecoming that we see pictured in Brianna’s confirmation as well. The homecoming of God, to His live with His people. Listen again to Jesus words, from our Gospel reading,
“"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him!”
That is the promise, that Breeana realizes, the very reason that she is being confirmed this day. It is the day we celebrate a homecoming for her, really for all of us, for today we celebrate that God has come, and made His home here, right here. It is a day of rejoicing for our little sister in the faith, and for ourselves as well. There is nothing quite like seeing someone realize that God is with them, for it reminds us – that it is true for us as well. So Rejoice – and continue to rejoice! So that this rejoicing my continue throughout her life, and ours, I have a few pieces of advice…
The first piece of advice, is foundational – from it flows every other piece.
Keep His word!
Jesus says those that love him, keep his word, the word that is not just His, but the Father’s. Often, when we hear this, we diminish the word, re-translating it in our minds to simply “obeying” His word. But it is so much more than, it is best translated as guard, to value these words – for they are precious.
Perhaps the best way to picture this, is to compare the words to a person’s first love, or perhaps, the letters from the soldier at war. The words of such letters are more than read, they are burned into our lives. When we think of the letters, we see the words on the paper, and imagine the hand, even as it composes them. The word’s are burned into our hearts, even as our minds process them.
In the same way, as we hear, as we spend time in the word of God, it does that and more. It gives us life, taking us from spiritual death to abundant life., it strengthens our faith, so that we go from trusting only in that which has failed to trusting in a God who has never failed, it assures us of love beyond any we have or could experience, in a world where love is reduced to an emotion, just slightly above lust, or being an acquaintance.
Keep His word, it promises that which is more valuable than anything you could compare to it. For those who keep it, have the homecoming, God living with them! The rest of this sermon will share some of the promises, as to why His word is so valuable.