The Lord Is With You
Sermon by Pastor Josh Van Leeuwen
Introduction by Phyllis Yearick
Remember brainstorming? Does anybody do that anymore? It’s the perfect way to generate a bunch of ideas because the only rule is no editing until you can’t add anything new to the list. Let’s give it a try. How many single words can you think of that inspire or reassure? For starters, there’s the obvious, love. What about home? Rest. Peace. Joy. Comfort. Forgiveness. Justice. Mercy. Goodness. Strength. Friendship. Faithfulness. Allegiance. Encouragement. Light. Rescue. Hope. You can probably think of even more. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if there were a single word whose meaning encompassed all of those words?
There is: Emmanuel. Literally it means “the Lord is with us.” When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to share the news that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus, the Messiah, he said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.” Just as the Lord was with Zechariah and Elizabeth and their unborn son, John. And just as he would be with Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, and many other players in the drama that was unfolding.
The Lord is also with us. He is with the single parents who struggle to care and provide for their families. He is with those who have lost a loved one and are consumed by grief. He is with the bully and the bullied. With the ones who long more than anything else for a spouse and children. With the lonely ones who feel excluded. With the ones whose bellies grumble for lack of consistent meals. With the ones who go off to war, and the ones who stay behind. With the ones drowning in debt or looking for work. With the ones who feel hopeless. With the oppressed, the lost, the sick, and the dying.
He is love to the unloved. Home to the homeless. Rest to the weary. Peace to the unsettled. Joy to the sorrowful. Comfort to the distressed. Forgiveness to the guilty. Justice to the oppressed. Mercy to the suffering. Goodness to those who daily face hatred. Strength to the weak. Friendship to those left out. Faithfulness to those with trust issues. An ally to the ones who feel invisible. Encouragement to the ones who want to give up. Light to those stumbling in the dark. Rescue to the abandoned. Hope to the lost. An ever present help in our times of need, whatever that need may be.
The Lord is with us. This is the Good News!
You are welcome at Westview Church. Join us this Sunday morning at 9:30 for our children’s Christmas program and a delicious youth group fundraiser breakfast.