“I Am with You Always” (Matthew 28:16-20)

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The festival of Holy Trinity is a heavy day for us Christians. It is a day for celebrating not a particular event but a doctrine … a teaching … a truth of God and of His Divine nature. It is a day for growing up. It is a day for laying some very heavy truths before our eyes and ears. It is also a day to be reminded of some very weighty, and grown-up promises. His to us, but also ours to Him. In the first chapter of Joshua the challenge is put forward: “Choose this day whom you will serve.”

And this day we answer the question who is it we should serve? He is the one who speaks to us in our Gospel for this Trinity Sunday: (18) “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. And in Him lies all authority in heaven and on earth. He is the God who waits to meet us in His Holy Word, and Sacraments. He is the God who wants us in His Word every day, and with Him in Holy Worship every week. The day of our confirmation vows, and later – the day we became members of this congregation, is the day that each and every one of us made the very grown-up promise that we would do everything in our power, to be with Him always, even to the point of suffering all, even death, rather than falling away from Him.

The unfortunate fact, however, is that we do not always keep our promise to be with Him always. Most are only with Him sometimes at best, and many of those who make these vows never keep them at all. It is a sad truth, but there are a lot of Christians out there, and maybe even some in here, who have never really grown up. It is also nothing new. We see it even in our Lord’s chosen disciples. Notice how our Gospel reading begins. (16) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. Remember that Jesus started out with twelve disciples. Not everyone even then remained with Him. Judas was lost despite the promises he had made with the rest. Further we read: (17) And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. Again, even those who remained with Jesus, still had their doubts! Even after all they had seen! Even after all they had received from His hands!

There are many things in life that will clamour to hold your attention. Many choices for what can fill your days and your thoughts. Many worthwhile endeavours to demand your best. School, career, family, friends, sports, hobbies, and all the day-to day “stuff” that simply comes with growing up. There are many other ideas out there about what is good and what is right; who God is, or how we can relate to him. “I know I should do better, but God will forgive me.” There will always be the temptation to think that if only we do enough to “get by” God will be happy with that. “I went to church just last month, He’ll understand if I just can’t make it today.” The thought goes that as long as we are not opposed to doing something it is as good as actually doing it. “I’d love to go to Bible Study, if my schedule just wasn’t so busy.”

Worse yet, there are many people and religions right here in our own communities that would love nothing more than to cause you to doubt that Jesus Christ is the Only Way through this life; The Only Truth in life; and The Only true Life at all. Indeed, taking seriously our vow to be with Him always, involves some serious and grown-up obstacles. These enemies of your faith are not childish in their attacks. Answering them requires a mature and well-developed faith.

But over and above all of these obstacles seeking to pull you away from your God is the one person who gives you His complete attention, His every thought, His time, and His absolute best. (20) And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. And this is the greatest news for children like you and me. Our lack of spiritual maturity, our inability to be with God through thick and thin … our lack of desire to even try … none of this changes the way God feels about us. Why even when we do have our moments of maturity, it still does not prove anything to God, or earn anything from Him. God is, and always has been, faithful and gracious to every one of us from the very beginning. And the truth of that love and compassion for us sinners is sealed up front.

Further, we have the promise of Jesus himself, that despite our failings to always remain with Him, God will be with us “always, even to the close of the age” This is God’s Baptismal promise to each of us, a promise He then confirms in the Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour. It is a promise that God will be with us not only in every time of our life, but also wherever that life may end up taking us. The God in whom we are baptized is the God who is daily with us from the beginning of life to the end of this life and beyond. As we grow up and take on more of the cares of this world, we may find ourselves at times drawn farther away from our heavenly Father. But no matter how far away, or how long in between visits, we remain His beloved Children, whom he loves without reservation. He is with us always, even to the end of the age. And that dear friends, is the heaviest and most wonderful truth you will ever grow into understanding!

AMEN.

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About kenmaher

When I'm not working I enjoy Astronomy, Camping, Comic Books, Epic Fantasy Novels, Games (both playing and designing), Hiking, Juggling, Sci-fi, and building strange things out of pvc pipe. I also enjoy being an honorary pre-schooler with my four great children ... much to their mother's dismay.
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