Audio and Text for Trinity 16, September 11, 2016


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father (pater in Greek), from whom every family (patria in Greek)  in heaven and on earth is named. 

 “Our Father, by whose name All fatherhood is known, Who dost in love proclaim Each family thine own.” LW#465

Your family belongs to God.  “Mine,” He says.  He is your Father.  He is your family’s Father.  Be comforted in hearing again that this Father provide (Matthew 6:24-34, especially “feeds,” “clothes,” “knows you need them,” and gives “His righteousness”). The Son of God is not ashamed to call you “brother” or “sister” and He is not ashamed to call anyone in your family “brother” or “sister.”  For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, That is why He is not ashamed to call them brother (Hebrews 2:11). 

Why that word “ashamed”?  What causes shame?  Why would you have shame – especially considering today the family – in yourself about your family?  There are two words I want you to consider that describe the Christian life in regards to sin – guilt and shame.  Guilt is primarily what you bear when you sin.  Shame also falls in this category but with this word comes also a new category and that is the thing in which you bear when you are sinned against.  Pain, anger, a feeling of uncleanness comes along with it.

What sins have you committed against your family?  How have you been sinned against and how does that make you feel unclean?  Being sinned against, what do you do with that shame?  Be warned that when one is sinned against it is often answered by more sin.

Some bear shame and uncleanness because of divorce, separation, abuse, addiction, and the simple lack of interest given to you from the family, much of which you had no control over.

All present here are also beneficiaries of the gift of family – the joy, protection, wisdom visitation, and comfort they bring.  Remember, the source of all of that is God, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.  He has worked through your family to bless you and has worked through you to bless your family.  This is especially true if He has worked through your family somehow to bring you to Church today to receive His Word and Sacrament.

However, all also bear the shame of families that have things like anger, jealousy, gossip, selfish choices of others that has damaged you, dishonoring of authorities that has hurt all, authorities given over to abuse in words or deed because “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” schisms, divisions, critical attitudes, greed, cruelty, laziness and things like these that have affected all  – some more, some less, some all that, and some only a small bit.  It is part of living in a family of sinners.  Sinners sin against you and you as a sinner sin against them.

The temptation is heavy, even for the Christian, to think of solutions – and while there is God-given things to do, especially in marriage, as parents, and as children (2 Commandments of 10 are especially about the family!), and while we as Christians should be guided by God’s Word that addresses how God has given order in the family (and I am providing something of a table of duties, biblical passages for the family) – we should never think that everything will be fixed until sin is no longer found in the human heart.  As long as it is there, it will find itself going from heart to thoughts, words, and deeds, of things done and left undone.

The Word today has one simple truth that has so many layers underneath: your family belongs to God.  We get our God-given duties to them from the One to Whom they truly belong to.  We also get comfort in knowing that He is the protector, provider, refuge for them as well as us.

Except the Lord, build the house, those who build it, labor it in vain (Psalm 127).  We are called to be family (build indeed!  Pray, bless, forgive, work, provide, read Scripture together!) and then we called to ask God to bless our families through us,  sometimes in spite of us, and quite often in ways in which we ourselves have very little control over.

“Our Father, by whose name All fatherhood is known, Who dost in love proclaim Each family thine own.” LW#465

He is Father because He is source of every single human being.  Nobody is an accident.  You are not an accident.  Every child is planned by God.  You were and are and will be in God’s plan of creation and provision.  God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, bestows on every person, every member of your family and the family of the human race, inherent dignity and value, from conception to natural death and beyond.

As we bring our guilt, our sin into this place today, the sin that originated in our heart and spilled out so often in our families, we bow our knee to the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, and thank Him that it is not only sin that dwells in our hearts, but also His Son, who took on our sin, forgives our sin, who through His Word dwells in our hearts through faith…and through that Word preached begins to lead us know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17, 19) as well as the Spirit who through the Word strengthens us with power in our inner being (Ephesians 3:16).  As God dwells in us through the Word, He cleanses, sanctifies, and declares us holy.

And as you bring your shame, the shame that came from being sinned against, you do not have to suffer silently, in pain, anger or helplessness.  You come to the very one that makes clean and makes whole.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all  sin (1 John 1:7) and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Being cleansed and touched by Jesus is the root of not taking our being sinned against and turning it into sinning against others.

He is present here, He whose touch and voice brought life to the man whose mother was widowed and was then without her only son but then who got him back from death, He who was interested in giving His mother a home even as He was hanging on a cross. He is present here.  Calling you brother and sister through His death, His Father is Father of you.  He brings healing to all of us in the vast array of families, challenges, burdens, sins, illnesses, and heartbreaks.  His Words and touch of His body and blood bring stability, peace, hope, joy, wisdom, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and the cleansing of shame.

God is quite interested in you.  He finds you important, worth listening to, worth adopting as His child.  His Son is not ashamed to call you brother or sister.  Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me in (Psalm 27:10).  You are never alone.  You are with family right now, born from the same womb that your brother to the right and your sister to the left were born from, the rebirth of Water and the Word.  He is Father of you, Father of your family, and Father of every family in heaven and on earth.

So, as we gather as Christians, we hear again His guidance and healing for us and our families.  That’s what Christians do!  We also pray for our families, and every family in the world.  We bow our knees, as children of the Father, respecting our Father, humbling ourselves before Him, and asking him as children ask their father.


Our Father by whose name

All fatherhood is known,

Who dost in love proclaim

Each family Thine own,

Bless thou all parents, guarding well,

With constant love as sentinel,

The home in which thy people dwell


O Christ, thyself a child

Within an earthly home,

With heart still undefiled,

Thou didst to manhood come;

Our children bless in every place

That they may all behold thy face,

And knowing Thee may grow in grace


O Spirit, who dost bind

Our hearts in unity,

Who teachest us to find

The love from self set free,

In all our hearts such love increase

That every home by this release

May be the dwelling place of peace.  LW#465

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