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Our home and homeland here and hereafter

1 Peter 1:11-20

Pastor David Ernst

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, May 12, 2019 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Mother's Day is not listed on the church calendar. However, our readings for today are very appropriate for this day.

This is clearer in the gospel (John 16: 16-22). Our Lord speaks of the trials of this world in this way: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, you shall mourn and lament, and the world shall rejoice: and though you be sorrowful, your sorrow shall turn to joy. A woman, when she gives birth, she has pain, because her hour has come, but after she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for the joy of having a man born in the world. but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. "

The illustration of how sadness changes into joy is a woman giving birth. For the pains of childbirth, it is right to give thanks to our mothers for the gift of life in this world, as we thank God for this gift and also the gift of eternal life in baptism.

But, I would like to reflect on the epistle. How is this text linked to respect for mothers?

This afternoon I will speak in the catechism class with Anyi about the Fourth Commandment. The catechism says thus about the Fourth Commandment:

"Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We must fear and love God so that we do not despise or irritate our parents and superiors, but honor, serve, obey, love and hold them in high esteem. "

Our parents are the first authority figures in our lives. We believe that the father, the man, should be the head of the house. His duties are not only to provide for the material needs of the family, but also to instruct his children in the Word of God. But not only the father, the command also says, honor your mother. Not only for the gift of life, but also as the second in authority after the father. And when the male figure is not present in the house, or is not a believer, the Christian mother must teach her children in the Word of God. Because God entrusted the parents with this authority and responsibility.

No one has perfect parents. Earthly parents are human beings, that is, sinners. Sometimes they make mistakes, sometimes they do wrong. However, we must respect the judgment of our parents in all things that are not against the law of God.

In addition, this principle extends to all other authority figures that we encounter in life: Our teachers in schools and universities, the police, the civil government, even our employers.

Therefore, St. Peter says: "Submit yourselves to every human institution for the sake of the Lord; either to the king, as a superior, or to the governors, for He has appointed them to punish the evildoers and for praise of those who do good. Because this is the will of God; that doing good, you silence the ignorance of vain men. As free men, but not using freedom to cover malice, but as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. "

Peter begins this passage with these words: "Beloved, I beseech you as foreigners and pilgrims, that you abstain from the carnal lusts that battle against the soul ..." We are foreigners because we have citizenship in two kingdoms. One is the country where we were born and live. The other is the kingdom of heaven. We have an earthly home with our biological parents, but our true home is with God. We also have an earthly homeland, but our true homeland is in heaven. We are pilgrims because one day we will leave this world to live forever with Christ.

As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we are free from the condemnation of the law. Jesus Christ died on the cross, paid the price of our sins. Because Christ fulfilled the law of God perfectly in our places, we should not fear the wrath of God if we do fall into sin. We can always repent and receive God's forgiveness. We do not have to obey all the laws of ancient Israel because we are not under the old covenant.

But, as citizens of our homeland here, we are under the authority of those whom God has entrusted with the punishment of wrongdoers. Maybe a country suffers a crisis like Venezuela today. Between the insecurity in the streets and the lack of material needs, we should not use this situation as an excuse to steal business, attack or kill others, or provoke violence in any way. We must look for the restoration of the country in peace and harmony. If there is corruption or the abuse of power in government, we trust in God for justice. All that God has given authority must give account to God for their actions. Of course, when the authorities command what God has forbidden or forbid what God has commanded, we must obey God and not men.

The church is the embassy of the kingdom of heaven. Its purpose is not to solve all the problems of one country or another, but to attend the citizens of heaven with the Word and the sacraments. And the Word does not say God has chosen this party to be the government, but that all the princes of men are under the judgment of God. All earthly kingdoms will pass, only the Word of God will never pass.

In the same way, all the conflicts of this world will pass away and in the end our sadness will turn into joy. This is the Word of God and in it we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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