Guest sermon by Pastor Miguelangel Perez of Paradise Lutheran Church, Cabudare, Venezuela
May the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with each one of you. Amen.
Today we celebrate the first Sunday after Epiphany, when we remember the baptism of our Lord. "Epiphany" means revelation or manifestation of something that no one knew before. Before Christ came to this world, everything was dark. As the Old Testament reading says (Isaiah 60: 1-6), "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and darkness the peoples: but the LORD shall be upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the people shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy birth. "
Today, there are things we need to know daily. Yesterday's newspaper is not enough. So, we have social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook and the Internet. But who wants to know the good news of God? The other news is more important to us. We dedicate our time to read La Prensa de Barinas or El Nacional, but in our hearts we have the knowledge of our condition and the need for a Savior.
What great news that the Savior was born among the Jews in Palestine! It was good news for all nations. That is why people from other latitudes, guided by the star, traveled to Bethlehem. Without publicity, they discovered the King of kings in the manger with His mother and the surrounding animals. What is the importance of this event for us?
This year confessional Lutherans celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Also, what is the importance of this event in this country of controversy and crisis? It is also the manifestation of the Spirit of God in a world that has no knowledge of the Word of God.
When we remember our baptism, we remember that Christ has made for all. No more important news. When people are attacked or killed in La Caramuca, it will be published in Alto Barinas, La Mula or Corozo. However, when we baptize or confirm them, there is not so much publicity. The information we need for our salvation, for eternal life, for the forgiveness of our sins, is not found in the press or in the books of the university, but in the Word of God. This Word is published by the church, which does not consist of a floor or a roof or any phyaixL plant, but was instituted by Christ himself among the apostles.
The church has preached this same Word for 2,000 years. The world likes novelties, but the message of the church does not change, because we speak of things that remain forever. AmID all crises and difficulties, we wait for the coming of our Lord.
These children who today will be baptized and those who will receive for the first time the blood and body of Christ with the support of their families understand the importance of the Epiphany. Baptism and First Communion are more important than a university degree, for the university title lasts for this life, but the testimony of faith in Christ lasts for eternity. This is good news for all of us. Among all the difficulties, God every day in this way is establishing His kingdom among us with the patience and constancy that we do not have. By his own Word, God has promised us to be with us forever. Amen.
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