Cracked
Wednesday of Easter 6
24 May 2017
I recall roaming in the fields of my grandfather's Ontario, Canada farm when I was a child. At distant intervals, there stood enormous piles of field stone encircled by verdant crops like boulder islands in the midst of waving golden grain. I spent hours pawing through the piles, marveling at the fabulous colors and textures of the ice-smoothed rock. One large boulder was cracked through by a proud Scotch thistle, which looked like it was driven through the rock like the sword in the stone. Of course, the hardy Highland weed had grown through the crack and was inexorably splitting that boulder. How tenacious that weedy life was. That purple-fringed little seed had come through the boulder and had begun flaking it into granite dust.
 
The life that we receive in Christ has that same weedy tenacity. We can question the power of God to give life after death with a thousand quibbles and cavils. However, if God promises that we shall be raised in power, all our doubts are cracked like the granite boulder on the rock pile of life. At death, our bodies are capable of nothing. They are but seeds cast to the wind, the chaff of life left to fertilize the dust of the earth.
 
From the dust of the earth, the Lord raises that corpse united to the corpus Christi through holy baptism. Our bodies are placed in our graves marked by the sign of the cross to molder there and fertilize the earth. We are but a decaying husk and only the tremendous Word of God will be able to change our bodies raising them like Christ's body when the last trumpet sounds. We shall no longer be weak, but raised in power. God has cracked the boulder of death with the seed of life.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"We read: 'It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power' (1Co 15:43). For the body is so weak now that it must suffer all sorts of things when but an illness, yes, a little abscess or a fever, comes along. And when the body lies prostrate, it is unable to chase away, if I may say so, even a louse or a flea; it must permit worms and all kinds of vermin to eat it. There is not enough strength present to warrant saying: 'He is able to do that,' but only: 'He must suffer that.' In view of this, reason asks how that body might rise from the grave again after it is completely consumed and turned into dust, a body which even now while it is alive is so frail and weak that it is felled by a little pestilence or by an abscess. All right, if you refuse to believe, go your way and remain a pig. We, however, know that later and at the proper time the body, weak and without any strength or power, though it may now be when it lies in the grave, will be so strong that with one finger it will be able to carry this church, with one toe it will be able to move a tower and play with a mountain as children play with a ball. In the twinkling of an eye it will be able to leap to the clouds or traverse a hundred miles. For then the body will be sheer strength, as it is now sheer feebleness and weakness. Nothing that it decides to do will be impossible for it. It will be able to defeat the whole world alone. It will become so light and nimble that it will soar both down here on earth and up above in the heavens in a moment.
 
"At present and until the Day of Judgment arrives, we look forward in faith. Meanwhile we rest under the sod, unable to move a hair's breadth from our place. We must remain where we are bedded and suffer all to tread over us with their feet and all those awful worms to gnaw away at us and consume us. And yet we must not let that dismay us but be minded as the peasant is who sows the kernels in the ground and buries them down deep, letting them rest there until they decay. There these kernels become so weak and perish so thoroughly that they are entirely useless. But nevertheless, when the time comes and spring appears, they come forth again and sprout beautiful blades and shoot into full ears, each of which bears 20 or 30 kernels for that one decayed kernel. And they withstand wind, rain, storm, and all kinds of vermin-unless God inflicts a special calamity.
 
"See, this is what such a small kernel or seed, which has no inherent strength and which earlier, when it was sown, could not move or leave the ground the width of a straw, is able to do. Now it is so astir and active that I often have asked in amazement how it was possible that an object as tiny as a mustard or poppy seed could bore its way through the ground which a peasant only with difficulty penetrates with a stake. And the seed is not assisted in this; it bores through irresistibly, although it may encounter sand and gravel and although the ground may be hard and dry. Therefore, should God not be able to do that with us, in accordance with His Word; that we come forth with a new strength when He wants to raise us up? Should we not have sufficient strength to penetrate the ground, even though huge fieldstones were lying over us? Should we not bring sufficient strength and power over all creatures with us, so that all must give way to us and lie under our feet?"

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15, 42-44
Job 19:23-27

"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!"
(
ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have triumphed over death and in Your triumph You have given those susceptible to death the gift of Your life in the sacrament of death and life. Grant that we might live lives of repentance so that putting to death the old man daily we might rise to newness of life. In the confidence that because you live we too shall live, rescue us from our fear of death. Amen.
 
For Pastor Charles St-Onge, who labors as a theological educator in the Caribbean for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that the Lord would grant him His Spirit
 
For President Ken Hennings of the Texas District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that he might lead the pastors and parishes of the district to be faithful to the Word of God
 
For Vicar-designate Kyle Richardson, that he would grow in his faith and confession during the year of his vicarage at Memorial Lutheran Church
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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