Passage: Isaiah 66:10–66:14
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Text: Isaiah 66:10-14
Date: July 3rd, 2016; Pentecost 7; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
There is a lot of attention focused on food these days.
TV shows, magazines, posts on social media are filled with expert’s advice on what we should and shouldn’t eat.
The confusing part is that the advice seems to change one week from the next.
How's your diet?
I’m not asking about the food you eat. I will leave that to your doctor.
I’m asking you to consider your “spiritual diet.”
Are you well-nourished spiritually? Are you being well-fed in the faith?
Our loving heavenly Father cares for you and wants the best for you - so he provides everything you need to be nourished and satisfied.
As we read in our text from Isaiah, "Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance."
Our heavenly Father provides a glorious abundance of spiritual nourishment for you in his Word and Sacraments in his Church.
Through his Word and Sacraments, our heavenly Father gives what we so desperately need to be spiritually nourished – Jesus crucified and risen for you!
And if you think about it, is there anything we should desire more than the forgiveness of our sins?
Is there anything we should be more hungry for than God’s peace which surpasses all understanding?
Is there anything we should crave more that victory over death and the promise of eternal life?
Yet, how often we look at God’s Word and Sacraments, God’s Church, as a child looks at a plate full of brussel sprouts!
They might be good for me but I don't want them!
The steady and rapid decline of membership in the church and in attendance on Sunday morning shows us that many are not interested in the spiritual nourishment that God provides.
Studies continue to show that biblical literacy has drastically declined in our culture.
People no longer know basic stories from the Bible or basic biblical teachings.
People are not being well-fed by the spiritual nourishment that God provides.
How about you? How is your devotional and prayer life?
How is your spiritual diet? Are you being nourished and well-fed?
These are good questions for us to think about.
Symptoms of spiritual malnourishment might include a lack of peace in your life.
You might feel lost and out of control.
You might question the meaning and purpose of your life.
You might find that your faith in God is weak.
The truth of the matter is that we all feel some of these symptoms from time to time.
The truth is that we all fail. We all fail to be nourished the way that God invites us to be.
Our devotional life is not what it should be. Our life of prayer is not what it should be. Our knowledge of the Bible is not what it should be.
Often we neglect our spiritual well-being because we are so focused on this life.
We allow the concerns and desires of the here and now to take over - and we are left starving spiritually.
Often we are drawn away from the spiritually nutritious Word and Sacraments in the Church to spiritual junk food.
We are drawn to the spiritual junk food that ignores God’s Commandments against sin.
We are drawn to the spiritual junk food that promises that if we just have enough faith and do enough good things - well then we will become wealthy and healthy.
We are drawn to the spiritual junk food that promises emotional highs and mystical experiences.
The Bible and the Church - no thanks.
We want something sweet.
We want something that is nicely packaged, something that entertains us, something that is shiny and sparkles.
At times, we do not allow ourselves to be nourished spiritually as our Lord desires for us.
And this is not due to a lack of spiritual food available to us.
Our Lord has been more than generous in his provisions for his people. He has provided us with glorious abundance.
He has provided us with the Word, the Bible, for preaching and teaching, for home study and devotions.
He has provided us with the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion -through which he washes us clean of our sin, claims us, and keeps us strong in the faith.
He gives us the powerful word of forgiveness in Holy Absolution.
We receive forgiveness for all of our sins, including the times we have neglected God and his Church.
He invites us to turn to him in prayer and he promises to hear us and answer our prayers always in the way that is best.
He has provided us with each other, brothers and sisters in the faith. We are all important parts of the body of Christ and we love, encourage, and build one another up.
God has provided us with a glorious abundance!
He so eagerly wants us to receive his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Gathering for Divine Service, receiving Holy Communion, studying and meditating on God’s Word, spending time in prayer – these are God's gifts of spiritual nourishment for you.
These are God's gifts to you that you might be satisfied and drink deeply with delight from his glorious abundance.
It is through this glorious abundance that God creates and sustains your faith that receives the eternal life Christ Jesus has won for you.
Be well-fed. Be nourished. Be filled with comfort, joy, and peace. Be filled with the certain hope of life everlasting. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.