Transfiguration Sunday [Life Sunday]
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Matthew 17:1-9
January 20, 2013
“The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross”
[The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross.
- 1. We are pleased with our work and think it brings life.
- 2. The Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross because it does bring life to you.]
“I was single, living with some friends, had a good job, and was having a good time. Having a baby just wasn’t in the cards. I told the father, and he said he had no intention of marrying me. He made his intentions quite clear right from the get-go. I had no desire to marry him either. I didn’t think a child was the right reason to get married. He said he’d pay for an abortion. Adoption was, quite truthfully, not an option I ever considered…At the time I thought that I could never give a child up, but now I look back and wonder how I could have done what I did. Giving it up would have been so much better. I didn’t really think of this as being a little person. It was a purely selfish decision. All I thought was, “What am I going to do now? This is a problem, and I have to take care of it.” I went to the doctor, and he suggested a clinic. It all happened so quickly. Looking back, I didn’t agonize. I had to make a decision; something had to be done.”
Those words come from a collection of stories told by women who have had an abortion, and you can find them at the top of the bulletin. Further on the same woman explains how she has tried to deal with the regret and guilt that came to her later as she looked at the children God gave her in her marriage, wondering whether the child she aborted would have been a boy or a girl, whether the child is in heaven. “I just don’t think about things that trouble me. I push them down.”
She goes on to describe what she thinks about God’s forgiveness: “I hear the pastor saying that it doesn’t matter how great our sins are, that God forgives us. But I think, ‘But mine are really bad.’ I guess I believe that my sins are forgiven, but a lot of times I have a lot of trouble feeling that they are forgiven.”
There will be people hearing this sermon who have had an abortion or paid for a woman to have one. Others have been involved in other sins against God’s gift of life. They should hear at the outset of the sermon, now: God put away your sin on the cross of Jesus. Don’t despair. Listen to God’s beloved Son who says “Do not be afraid.”
Others know someone who has had an abortion. And there are those who do not. Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of legal abortion in the United States, but it has been done in this country for much longer than that.
Regardless, the confession of this woman is not only her confession, and not only the confession of people who have had an abortion. St. Peter could relate with it. Like her, he also followed the wisdom of his flesh, called God’s work “bad” and tried to replace it with his own work. Like her he also tried to gain life for himself in his own way, apart from God’s word. He also fell into grave sin and would have despaired if Jesus had not restored him with His absolution.
What was true of Peter is true of all of us. Apart from the Holy Spirit
- 1. We are pleased with our work and think it brings life, but
- 2. the Father is well-pleased with Jesus’ cross because it truly brings life to you.