Third Sunday after Holy Trinity
July 2, 2017
Micah 7:18-20; 1Peter 5:6-11; Luke 15:1-10; Luke 1:39-56; Hymn 608
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In observance of the Day Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, it is written: 39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” 46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
Thus far the text, let us pray: Almighty God, send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts that He may rule and direct us according to Your will, comfort us in all our temptations and afflictions, defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth - Your Word is Truth - so that we, being steadfast in the faith of Jesus, may increase in all good works and in the end obtain everlasting life; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
It is not simply the occasion of Mary visiting Elizabeth - but the remembrance which we were called to when our Lord said, "Do this in remembrance of me."
Elizabeth conceives in her old age like Sarah before her. Elizabeth holds to the promise that the angel gave to Zechariah in the temple, that the child she would bear would be the prophet named John (the Baptist), the forerunner of Christ.
Elizabeth is an example for older Christians. An example to live chaste and decent lives even in the midst of old age. Mary is an example for younger Christians. And example to live chaste and decent lives even in the midst of youth.
The Blessed Virgin, though she was engaged to Joseph guarded God’s Word even in her behavior. The world tells our younger Josephs and Marys, ‘Virginity is bad. Get rid of it fast.’ Then you are either too proud or too ashamed to talk to parents and pastor for repentance unto the forgiveness of their sins. The world tells our middle aged Josephs and Marys that, ‘Infertility is a curse. In-Vitro fertilization is the answer’ even if the resulting snowflake babies will never be born. Then you are either too proud or too ashamed to receive repentance unto the forgiveness of your sins. Finally, the world tells our oldest and widowed Josephs and Marys that, ‘Money is good. Live with rather than marry and keep receiving social security.’ If any of this is true of you then you have found your repentance for this morning. In that repentance, receive healing found in the faith of Jesus, Mary’s Child.
When Mary entered the house of Zechariah, she greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard the sound of her greeting, the baby leaped inside her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Why such joy, such leaping and filling at the sound of a young girl's voice? Mary bears the Christ-child in her womb. Mary brings THE CHILD with her and Elizabeth’s child (who is John the Baptist) leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb while Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. Such a marvel!
Elizabeth responds to the Lord in the same way David did. As the Ark of God's presence was carried up, David leapt and danced before the Lord, remember? Check it out in Second Samuel. So they brought up the Ark of the Lord with SHOUTING and the sound of the horn.
It is with a SHOUT that Elizabeth exclaims, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
That's what David had asked. "Why is the ark of the Lord to come to me?" Mary is the new ark of the Lord. Elizabeth asks, “Why is the mother of my Lord to come to me?”
So it is THE LORD Jesus (not the ark of Mary) who occasions all of this - David's dancing, John's leaping, Elizabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth shouting praise to God by the Holy Spirit, our being here this morning.
Again, Jesus comes under your roof, though you and I aren't worthy. And Jesus makes us leap for joy. Jesus bears glad tidings of great joy, even in the midst of summer! Christmas in July, six months before Christ’s Mass. Jesus blesses you, who are burdened with sin; who falter and fail; who give in to the ways of this world. Jesus greets you.
Jesus greeted you this morning with His Forgiveness.
Jesus greets you now. Jesus reminds you of all the mighty things that He has done. Jesus has redeemed you with an outstretched arm. Jesus lifted up the lowly, taking on Himself your sins. Jesus sends the rich away empty. The worldly rich have no need of such a lowly Savior. The worldly rich, who are secure, who can carry on beneath the eyes of God without a care, who are without a worry, who are without the fear that David showed when God announced the Ark should come to him! The rich who cannot tremble in repentance, seeking help, Jesus turns away. But the empty, those hungry for repentance, those thirsty for righteousness - those people are the ones whom Jesus fills with His good things.
Why should the Lord come to us? Yet He does! His Good Things soon will be upon the Altar. The Lord’s Body and His blood placed to your lips in, with and under the bread and the wine.
The world laughs at virginity and chasteness and faith that holds to God's promise - even against the reality of old age. Mary and Elizabeth are examples to us all, if only in the way they teach us how to live a life of holiness, as set apart and different from this world.
But it is CHRIST Jesus in the midst of us who is the reason for this morning’s Divine Service, for this little bit of Christmas in July. Jesus is in the midst of you. Jesus greets you. Jesus calls you blessed. Jesus declares you Favored by your heavenly Father because your sins are forgiven. Jesus fills you with His Holy Spirit and brings you joy
Or as in the sermon hymn we just sang by Joseph Cruciger (1598-1662), LSB 608:4
4 Lord on You I cast my burden--Sink it in the deepest sea!
Let me know Your gracious pardon, Cleanse me from iniquity.
Let Your Spirit leave me never; Make me only Yours forever.
And finally, bring us to the remembrance which we were called to when our Lord said, "Do this in remembrance of me”; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen