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ALL THINGS MADE NEW

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Release Date: 11/14/2022

CAN THESE BONES LIVE? show art CAN THESE BONES LIVE?

Holy Trinity Ankeny

The prophet, Ezekiel, sees a valley of dry bones and God asks, “Can these bones live?” We may respond, “No. Life is hard and then you die.” Death seems to get the final word. Yet, God has something else in mind as dry bones become Spirit-filled people. Jesus raises Lazarus from death. In baptism, we die to sin, evil, and death to live as resurrection people.

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IN THE DARK show art IN THE DARK

Holy Trinity Ankeny

It takes little imagination to see that the world we inhabit is a pretty dark place. Hunger, violence, hate, war, failed banks, hungry people… all these things and more rob our souls of light and place a heavy burden on our shoulders. The gospel, however, tells us that “we are children of the light.” We need not solve the darkness of the world, we need only reflect the light of Christ given as we gather, listen, receive Christ, and are sent into the world to imitate the one who banished the darkness of death.

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LIVING WATER show art LIVING WATER

Holy Trinity Ankeny

The woman at the well in today’s Gospel brings an empty jar to a well and has an encounter with Jesus. The woman brought a jar to fill up with water. We all have jars that we carry around hoping to fill up with something. Most times it is with things that are not life giving.  Jesus offers us another way. 

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THE LIVING WORD show art THE LIVING WORD

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Our lives are filled with words – billions of them each week. Our conversations, our media, social media, and mail are full of words that try to tell us what to think, how to act, and who we are. These are generally dead words – they can’t give us life, love, grace, or mercy. Each week the church gathers around the Living Word Jesus Christ. Through scripture, hymns sung, sermons preached, prayers prayed, and creeds confessed Christ becomes a Living Word that grants new life.  

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GATHERED AND FORGIVEN show art GATHERED AND FORGIVEN

Holy Trinity Ankeny

It is not just by the effort of those in attendance to roll out of bed that the people of God gather for worship. It is an act of the Holy Spirit to create a desire to come into God’s presence, to draw us to the grace and mercy of God that brings us together. So, how do people who have fallen and failed, who have struggled to have faith prepare to come into God’s presence? We don’t. Through confession and forgiveness, God says, “You are my child. Come. Gather.”

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CHOSEN show art CHOSEN

Holy Trinity Ankeny

We live in a culture where there are winners and losers. It seems like it doesn’t matter what we do, we are always in competition with someone. We compete for jobs and promotions, who has the best children, and who has the most stuff. And if we aren’t careful, we can think that we are loved because we are winners and we can feel unloved because we are not the winners. Living through the trials and tribulations of this world is a lot easier when we know we are loved; when we know we are chosen. When we too hear the words, you are my child, my beloved, with you I am well pleased.

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THE LEAST WE COULD DO show art THE LEAST WE COULD DO

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Jesus says. “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder.’” (Matthew 5:21) That sounds reasonable. I think I can manage not to murder anyone so I can live in God’s reign of peace, justice, joy, and grace. It is the least I can do. Jesus, however, wishes for us to live in a way that is more than “the least we can do.” Jesus wishes for us the abundance of the reign of God.

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SALT & LIGHT show art SALT & LIGHT

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Salt in our day is cheap and plentiful. We even spread it on our streets. It was different in Jesus' day and culture. Salt was precious. Sometimes it is easy to forget that when Jesus calls us salt that he is calling us precious. Today we are reminded that we are precious.

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BLESSED show art BLESSED

Holy Trinity Ankeny

God does not wish for us a world where peace officers beat a man to death, nor does God imagine a creation where shootings happen every day. In fact, God weeps over the ways of the world. In Christ, God has revealed the ways of God – justice, peace, mourning, and meekness. Christ’s way was rejected but in the resurrection, God said “yes” to our no.” We know what God desires. We know what will save us from the mess we’ve made. “To seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” according to the prophet Micah.

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JESUS CHOOSES US show art JESUS CHOOSES US

Holy Trinity Ankeny

I love the Choose Your Own Adventure books. They give you options as to what happens next as you read, and there is always the ability for a do-over if you don’t like how the story ends. In today’s Gospel lesson, Simon, Andrew, James, and John have a choice. Jesus gives them the choice to follow him. It is the same choice we get to make in our own lives. Whether we chose to follow or not, Jesus chooses us. Time and time again, Jesus chooses us. So, when we choose Jesus, we choose the one who first chose us.

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When Jesus and the disciples leave the Temple today, they comment on how grand it is. And Jesus, never one to forego an opportunity to teach, tells them that this temple will one day no longer be standing. I am sure that they heard this news as bad news. After all, the temple was the center of Jewish religious life. But this isn’t bad news. It is actually good news, especially to those on the margins of life.