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Today is the 501st anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. In the Treasury this morning, we are blessed by one of Luther's writings, taken from his sermons on the Gospel according to St. John, in which Luther preached saying, "Furthermore, what is a beggar's filth or stench compared with the filth of sin which is ours by nature, stinking a hundred thousand times worse and looking infinitely more repulsive to God than any foul matter found in a hospital? And yet the love of the Son of God for us is of such magnitude that the greater the filth and stench of our sins, the more He befriends us, the more He cleanses us, relieving us of all our misery and of the burden of all our sins and placing them upon His own back." (Treasury 867).
This is Reformation happiness. What I mean to say is, what joy we have in not only knowing, but receiving the very gift of Jesus' mercy and grace. NO matter how sinful, be it quantity in how many times we sin, or quality, in how terrible the sin itself is, Jesus loves us more and more. As the sin increases, so does, and in even greater abundance, does Jesus love for us increase. This is not an invitation to increase in sin, but rather is to comfort we who are terrified in conscience. This message is for us, to assure us that no matter how far down and no matter dark the pit is into which we fall, Jesus dives deeper into the darkness for us. He is our Light, meaning He is there to take away our fear and show us that heaven is real and that our reward, our eternal life bestowed upon us in Baptism, awaits us in paradise. What could make us happier than this. It's not wrong for a Lutheran to be happy, to smile, laugh, and dance to the reality that, in Jesus, all our filth is washed away and our sins removed and placed upon the outstretched arms of Christ the crucified. Let us joyfully live life then, being happy in every circumstance, knowing that our reward of life eternal awaits us in heaven because Jesus has dealt with our filthy sin. Yes, we will mourn, cry, and despair. Let us bear the burden with each other in joy, knowing that we together await life eternal with our merciful Lord. Let us not just remind each other that our tears will be wiped away, but let us wipe them away ourselves in the forgiveness of our sins. Let us comfort one another in the reality that as life gets worse and sin grows fouler, Jesus increases evermore in love, mercy, and forgiveness towards us.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you may hear the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.