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Loosen our tongues, O Lord

Mark 7:31-37

Pastor David Ernst

12th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Sep 11, 2011 

Years ago when I was a kid, my friends and I had fun challenging each other with this question: If you had to lose one of the five senses, which would you choose?

The five senses are sight, hearing, touch, touch and smell. Which would you want to lose?

The song "De colores", speaks of the beauty of creation in everyday life. It begins, of course, with the colors of the flowers of the field. With which sense do we enjoy colors? Vision. Imagine if you can, a world without color, not just the flowers, also sunrise, sunset and more.

The song next speaks of sounds, particularly those of the rooster, chickens and their chics. There are many more types of birds in Venezuela, is that not so? Other birds sing every morning to the glory of God. With what sense do we enjoy the songs of birds? Hearing. How sad it would be also if we could not hear the music of the guitar or cuatro, maracas, harp and mandolin. How sad if we could not hear the voices of our parents, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends.

However, it would be sad too if we could not feel the embrace of our loved ones, or kiss relatives, spouses and others. How sad if we could not enjoy the smell of flowers or food, or we could not get a taste of the food or drink.

God created us with five senses to enjoy the creation in all aspects. He also has enabled us to respond to His love with our tongues in loud voice.

But creation is tainted by the sin of Adam and Eve. So, some people are missing one or more of the five senses, not by their own fault, but because there are diseases in this world because of the disobedience of our first parents. God has not abandoned these people. Through human labor, God has blessed the deaf with their own language of hand gestures. Tony, the second cousin of Elias, Oriana, Eduar, Ignacio and Anyi, uses this language. Through this language, a deaf person can understand and participate in the worship of God. Once I saw a pastor pray the Lord's Prayer in the sign language. It was very moving and beautiful.

Sometimes, through doctors, the Lord restores vision, hearing and other senses. During His ministry on earth, Jesus directly healed many of the blind, deaf, paralyzed and others with disabilities, as He did in our text for today. Many times, the evangelists remember that the Lord told them at the same time, "I forgive your sins."

Doctors can fix our physical disabilities, but only Jesus Christ can forgive our sins. But Jesus Christ is not with us in a visible form today, how does He communicate the forgiveness of our sins to us?

Thank God for the Holy Spirit Who moves among us to make us living members of Christ's body in the world today. As the deaf and blind are physically, so are we all spiritually as sinners. We can not find the love and forgiveness of God by our own resourcefulness. No matter, as our Lord Jesus communicates with the deaf-mute in the today's text, the Spirit communicates with us in a way we can understand.

First, in the written Word preached in our own language. The Scriptures were written in other languages, but by the Holy Spirit almost all nations have the Word of God in their own language. God revealed His will and His power to proclaim the gospel in many languages ​​on the first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all the church. Spirit also moves translators to do new translations of the Bible, because there are still tribes and nationalities that do not have the Bible in their own languages.

In addition, the Spirit communicates the message of salvation in the sacraments. God has ordained baptism and the Lord's Supper as the means of grace. The preaching of the Word is the broadcasting of the Law and the Gospel to all nations, in which the Spirit touches the hearts of all to repent. In the sacraments, the Spirit touches each of us personally to communicate to us the grace of God. Each sacrament has a visible element (and not only visible, but also that which can be touched, tasted and smelled) because we are creatures of the five senses. And I did not forget hearing, because in the sacraments we hear the Word of God.

The visible element in Baptism is water. With water and the Word of God, we receive spiritual cleansing and God calls by name to a new life. In the Lord's Supper, the visible elements are the bread and wine, in, with and under we receive the body and blood of Christ to feed our faith and for the growth of new life.

And we thank God for the gift of tongues, with which we can respond to the love of God with praise and song. St. Paul wrote, no one can call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.3). Without the Spirit, we also are mute. So, Lord, please loosen our tongues to worship and glorify Your holy name. Amen

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