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Why We Do What We Do.

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Mercy peace be to each of you from God our Father through Jesus Christ his only son our only Lord and Savior. I'm in we're going to come back to that thing that we just sang about it as we connected to the Gospel reading in this weekend. I get to the conversation. We're having this morning first. I kind of want to bring back something we've been doing for a while which is a little bit of the opening humor. Okay again from the internet endless source of all kinds of things on the internet. This is supposed to be the best ever senior citizen joke, so I'm not sure if it's the best ever but it is a senior citizen joke. Okay. So here we go. Lady calls her neighbor and says, please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle and I can't figure out how to get it started. So her neighbor asks. Well, what is it supposed to be when it's finished? The little silver haired lady says according to the picture on the box. It supposed to be a rooster her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She likes him in shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment. Then looks at the box then turns to her and says first of all no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to make when I get to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster menu takes for hand and says secondly, I want you to relax let's have a nice cup of tea and then he says with a deep side. Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.

Okay. So maybe it is the best. I don't know. So we have we're talking about stuff that we do in the church why we do what we do and we were looking at the paraments last couple of weeks, but they keep changing on us. And so so now they're green. Okay, and that has to do with the fact that this is The Epiphany season last week was specifically the focus on the baptism of Jesus and the Epiphany season, then basically kind of begins with that and then goes all the way through the Transfiguration of Jesus which will be white again for that particular day, but in between it's all green. So just my way of review now that we're in different season the word Epiphany means what anybody remember or no? What happens when you have an epiphany the light bulb goes on? Okay, so you have this kind of realization of something. Okay. So eat the word Epiphany means kind of Revelation or or manifestation which then leads to a realization. Okay. And so Epiphany then it focuses on the life of Jesus and gang which then Reveals His divine nature just a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about the Nativity of Jesus otherwise known as Christmas OK and that focuses on his birth and his human nature Epiphany now focus on his life and his divine nature. And so therefore Epiphany is green. Green as you probably know is the color of life. We don't see a whole lot of that out there right now. Assuming will ever get into a deep freeze. I don't know. Except for the weeds that weeds are always green focused on the life of Jesus green is the color of life and John the Apostle write these words about his life in chapter 1. He says in him was life and that life. Was and still is by the way the light of mankind. Okay. So there's a lot about the life of Jesus that is worth looking at because that is the lights for you and me that God has given us so that's the green thing. Now as far as symbols are concerned. An electron over here we have the Creator's Star as it is called. I don't know how far back you all can see that but it's the Creator store with the two interlaced triangles. The triangle is a symbol for Trinity, okay, so it's kind of a double Trinity symbol and the six points then are not emblematic or symbolic of the six days of creation. Okay. I know there were seven but God rested on the 7th or those first six days. He was creating over here. We have a symbol that trick by now be familiar to Racine and almost every single week and make it up with that is the Alpha and the Omega. This is Alpha and Omega the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet the first and Jesus is the first and the last upon the altar. In the sense that we have another trinitarian symbol with a triangle and then the inflating circles the interlacing circles, of course, respond to the three persons of the Trinity Father Son and Holy Spirit and the whole idea of the circle represents that they are eternity. Cuz where is the starting point of a circle geometrically, there is none of the circle has no beginning and has no end and that's what God is like no beginning and no end so there's three circles father son. Holy Spirit No Beginning No End and on the ends of of the Paramount there on the altar. Is that cross Fleury as we talked about last week that flower and cross. Car sponsor the sacrifice of Jesus being acceptable to God the father when he when he died on the cross. Okay. So that's a little bit about the symbolism in the color and the parents. And the reason why I'm going back now to talking more about why we do what we do specifically in and around here. We're explaining and find on Stan's unlock customs and traditions and so last week we talked a lot of hot wing or referencing the altar which is just another way for us as a human tradition to acknowledge the presents the mystery the Majesty of God. And however, you want to adopt or do this custom of of referencing the older of bowing at the altar none of it matters. If we don't treat Christians with some semblance of reverence and respect. If we're rude to each other if we mean to each other if we thought this through each other always borrowing stuff is irrelevant because the altar is only the symbol of God's presence but a Christian actually is God's presence. That we're interacting with in that we're dealing with so guess which one's more important.

How do you treat the altar is not a measure of Christianity? Okay, how you treat Christians? That's how you treat Christ and of course, we don't want to be Hypocrites who have all this modeling stuff down to a science, but then we really treat each other like, you know, like we don't care because we're the most important person in the world. We want to be faithful followers of Christ and treat each other with that reverence and respect that is due to Christ and right to be on some of the architecture and moving to some of the Furnishings that we have around here. Not quite the prime minister, they sort kind of change from season, but we have some Furnishings in here that I kind of permanent because eventually after you build it you need to furnish it. And so we have this chance alaria up here separated from the Nave down here by these two railings. I've been on that site and they have panels. They're okay with that which has carbs have carvings on them through over here three over there. And there's two themes in these carvings. I know you can't see them sitting down. But when you come to communion, you'll see them first report pictures today. So the three panels over here in of course, I get a trinitarian they correspond to the Trinity and over here the three pedals or correspond to what we lose during school. That means of Grace. All right, and we will talk about that momentarily. So let's take a look at title. Number one. Is the one on the far side over here it is the Creator's hand okay with this with three fingers pointing down the three fingers pointing down correspond to the Trinity. All right, and it's the Creator's hand because he provides for our needs. He's the one who created us. He's this car spawns then is a symbol of God the Father. the next panel over is the fish which corresponds to Jesus the son of God, how do we get from Jesus to fish this story? Don't worry. This is good. Anybody know their Greek? From maybe school or somewhere else. The Greek word for fish is ixus. Okay, Texas has five letters in Greek which Port which corresponds to Jesus Christ God's son savior? Okay, and it was the early Christian symbol the early Christian symbol was not across the early Christian symbol was a fish with consisting of two lines during the Roman empire being a Christian is illegal. It's not necessarily a good thing for you to do or to be or to admit. Okay. So if your conversation with some Christians were underground Christians with secret and if you were talking to somebody And you did not know them but all of a sudden your conversation so they kind of started going a little bit of a spiritual direction or a religious Direction and all the sudden you got the sense. They were maybe possibly a Christian you would draw that little half a curve with a little pepper fish in the sand in the dirt Wherever You Are And if the other person was not a Christian, it just be graffiti, you know, but if the other person was a Christian then they would draw the other side of the fish the other curve then all the sudden you have a connection with a fellow believer because of the fish because one of you drew the 1/2, you're the one who drew the other half and there was a bond of Faith there a bond of Eternal family. So the fish with the symbol for the Son of God Jesus and then thirdly this panel over here, of course is the Dove and why is a dog the symbol for the Holy Spirit? You just heard it today in the Gospel reading because Spirit came down as a dove and rested on Jesus at his baptism. Okay, but we got Father Son and Holy Spirit the Trinity here carved into these panels. On this side, where are the first symbol is a lamp. That's a that's a lamp right now to go to old days. When you were sort of kind of carry it and have a little container of oil and out of it came a flame. Are you would carry that lamps and that's the symbol for the Bible that the symbol for the word of God. Anybody know why? Cuz in the phone that says your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. There's even a song about that that we sang. Okay, you don't need to do that. So so this is this is the Bible. This is the scriptures the light of of God's word that shines for us and illuminates our path the next symbol. Is a shell that is really good. A shell doesn't look like anything you see in the ocean, but that's a shell wreath stands for baptism in K and means of Grace. Okay. The Bible is the means of Grace the baptism is a means of Grace and 1/3 symbol over here. Finally is a chalice at the 1965, but nevertheless it is a child and that symbolizes. communion the other means of Grace so there are got a three-in-one means of Grace where I were God conveys his grace to us and not only speaks to us, but he actually conveys his grace is forgiveness his Mercy to us, okay. And so that's what those 3 emblems there. Are those 3 carvings in those panels.

Lectern the actual lectern itself his hit his some fun fun fun with English lectern is where the elector reads election from the lectionary. You guys got that. Alright. Alright read and that is why lecturers are boring cuz when you go to a lecture, which a dealer by Electric close words are related what they're really doing is everything at you. But of course when the word of God is a red that's not boring lecture might be a boring but not not a election. Alright the puppet on the other side over here really where the pastor stands to preach the word that comes from the Latin Pulpit to him which means stage or scaffold boards. So in most churches the puppet has one or two more steps up above the the floor of the chancel and in fact, some Churches have a Pulpit that's way up top. I don't know if you've ever seen one of those something like that. All the way up there. Okay. Why would you do that architectural e Tooth to convey the video exalted position or status of the word of God. Okay. Just what I kind of have to elevate the word of God to elevate people's attention up towards God and and towards his work. So that's a little bit of the Furnishings down down below the railing a chance of really hear the baptismal font. Come to the word fountain or spring in some Churches about Tesla font is always full of water and they have a little motor down to bottom with make your bubble but a little and the whole idea is it it conveys the idea of Living Water the fact that it is a spring day and not just simply a pool of water. Our baptismal font does not like that. It's portable. It has wheels underneath it so that we can move it around and of course, it has a cross on the front and the cross on the top and I don't think I need to explain why the closest are they all right? Alright symbolically more important than the baptismal font actually is a Paschal candle. Other stands behind it. And anabolic the front isn't very practical Furnishing the baptismal at the Paschal candle is a much more symbolic Furnishing because the Paschal candle symbolizes eternal life. Game nights are coming soon. You'll it on specific days and occasions. Most important most important of all that's left. That's lit on Easter Easter season because it corresponds then to the resurrection of Christ into the fact that he who died will never die. Again. He is the firstborn from the dead was that sort of eternal life at baptisms then because when we are baptized that's what are eternal life begins. I don't know everybody might have a little different view of baptism. I've talked about it often. I'm going to continue to talk about it off and on. Baptism is not eternal life insurance. I broke off and how was treated there? No families. Got a baby. They bring the baby they get baptized. Oh good, baby, baby's fine. We'll see you in 12 years for confirmation. I don't know that's treating baptism like eternal life insurance. That's not what it is the beginning of eternal life and a relationship with God which that needs to be nurtured and an in developed and fed and supported and the pedestal candle is also then at funerals Because it is a symbol of eternal life and because the person that we are commending to the ground or whatever that person can be buried we are actually celebrating the fact that they have entered the fullness of eternal life with God in heaven the eternal life that began at baptism. That's why baptism and funerals and Easter are all connected and they are symbolized by the lighting of the Paschal candle. Okay, that makes sense. Finally as far as Furnishings are concerned, you know that in many churches stained glass windows. The purpose of stained glass windows is not to make the church look pretty alright, the purpose of stained glass windows is to tell a story is to convey the message. We are not at church with stained glass windows. We have decided to go with car of the glass windows. Okay, so we have two windows in place this the Nativity the birth of Jesus and the extension all the way up there this the panes of glass in here about an inch thick they aren't they are literally carved glass that I had their little car and there was a plan which we developed our 45th anniversary back in 1997, but there is a plan to put a picture if you will enjoy every single window in the church. Okay, all 12 Windows have a plan that's already been prepared. It's in my files and it's in the big sea glass works on Arnold Ave around the corner. I mean on the curb, so if anybody feels so inclined generously to start putting some of these windows in place talk to me and you can pick one out of ten or whatever back in those days. The price was slightly less than 4000. I'm sure it's slightly more than that now. Okay. Alright, so why do we do all this stuff? Why do we liturgical churches? Why do we furnish our buildings with all these symbols churches don't do this. They even have a commandment against it. Okay. So why do we

Because God communicates with people with us, not only orally and orally but also visually and visibly. Okay, God is not just simply a spoken word kind of God. God also uses pictures to communicate his message not in to communicate his love and his truth. What are the best examples of the ideas in the gospel today that I read where John says about Jesus Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That is a picture. Okay, that is a visual for the people who hurt him in those four words the Lamb of God. People in their minds were already seeing and they were picturing the Passover Lamb. And they were already seeing and they were picturing the scapegoat and they were already seeing and picturing the Lamb of Isaiah 53. Are you familiar with those pictures? Maybe maybe not the Passover Lamb? Is France is known for what? Every every Passover the Israelites would Slaughter lamb. And the burger original Passover, what was the purpose of slaughtering the lamb? You take the blood your mark your door up and down across the top and down each side and the angel of death passes over you. So the blood of the Lamb spare you from death. the Lamb of God the blood of Jesus Spears you from death from Eternal death the scapegoat familiar with that. I mean we use that we use that expression. What was it every every year honey. I know what they haven't told me that the high priest would symbolically take the sins of all the people of Israel place them on the head of the scapegoats and drive the scapegoat out into the Wilderness word scapegoat met its demise. And so all the sins of the people will put on the scapegoat and he was sent off to die. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away meaning will takes upon himself the sins of the world and carries them off. In his death so that you do not have to bear that order the Lamb of Isaiah 53, which is actually about the suffering servant who was let away and Silent like a lamb to the slaughter.

Okay, which is what Jesus did without protesting on his way to the Cross just as Isaiah 53 predicted, it would happen 700 years prior. So when John says those four words the Lamb of God people are seeing this. This is a picture. Okay. So which words John gave a picture of who Jesus is what he came to do. We use symbols as as well as words, but sometimes symbols just communicated better. Paul the Apostle wrote these words about Jesus He is Christ as the image of the invisible God. You know, what the Greek word for images? Yes, you do. You use it all the time. It's icon. Jesus is the icon of the invisible God. He is the visualization of God God is invisible. He is not able to be seen. However, the Bible says that Jesus is the radiance of God's glory the exact representation of his being

Alright, so Jesus is the picture that God sent so we could see what he's like what he's really like and so following them this example of Jesus. We represent the word of God in symbols in statues in pictures and then Arts And finally, one of the 12 apostles asked asked Jesus on the night that he was betrayed in the last supper was taking place. He asked Jesus show us the father and that will be enough for us. Remember Jesus's reply. Jesus replied anyone who has seen me has seen the father so he didn't say anyone who was heard me. I've heard the father cuz of course that's true. But he also went to say whoever has seen me has seen the father because Jesus is the image of God. He is the icon of God. He is a visualization of God. And so therefore we also use images and icons and symbols and visuals to communicate Christ to communicate God's word and the idea is when you when you come into a liturgical church or any other Church the ideas you would then be surrounded by visuals. Which communicate to you something from the word of God? Okay, churches are not. furnished or decorated if you want to say so we're not decorated just to look nice. We're decorated with furnished so that you can be reminded without even hearing the word. You can be reminded of what the Bible says and what is true about Christ and about your relationship to him and about what he has done for you. That's why we do what we do. Amen. Amen. Let's continue our services. We received ties and offerings. We are broke.

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