Ash Wednesday Sermon Recording – Feb. 17, 2021

+ Ash Wednesday – February 17, 2021 +

Genesis 3

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“The Ashes of Paradise Lost”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

For 40 days and 40 nights the floodgates of the heavens and the springs of the deep were opened in the days of Noah. For 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness before entering into the promised land. For 40 days Jesus was in the wilderness, fasting, overcoming Satan’s temptations, and succeeding where Israel and Adam and you and I had failed.

 

Today the season of Lent begins. And it’s no accident that it’s 40 days long. Like the biblical seasons of 40, this season of Lent is a time of testing. Of repentance. Of renewal in the Lord’s promises. Of reflection upon Jesus saving work. A time of exile and return. So, during these midweek services over the next forty days, we’ll be taking a closer look at the exoduses of Scripture.

 

On this Ash Wednesday we begin Lent by going back to the beginning, to the first exodus in Genesis 3, as we glance over our shoulders to the Garden called Eden and the ashes of paradise lost.

 

“By the sweat of your face,” God told guilty Adam, “you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Adam to ashes, Eve to dust. So began the exodus of death for our first parents. And for us who live east of Eden. Down into sadness. Down into sin, tumbling pell-mell from the mountaintop paradise that was ours to the jungle of mortality far, far below.

 

O Adam, what have you done? O Eve, why have you done it? In love the Father created you both in his own image and likeness, so that as he is in heaven, so were you on earth. Was that not good enough for you? In love the Father gave you bodies and souls, wisdom and beauty, innocence and purity. Were these gifts not enough? In love the Father planted a Garden called Eden, a piece of heaven on earth. Was this not enough? In love, the Father gave you to one another, man to woman and woman to man that you might live in wedded bliss. Was this not perfect enough? In love the Father gave you every single tree of Eden for food save one. Was he holding out on you by keeping you from eternal harm? O Adam what have you done? O Eve, why have you done it?

 

It’s a question we must ask ourselves too, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. For we cannot remove the speck from our first parents’ eyes while our eyes are a logjam of sinful, selfish desires. How often have we, like our first parents, looked for our comfort, well-being, and every good from creation rather than our loving Father and Creator? Are his gifts not enough? How often have we sought peace and comfort in the wisdom and wealth of this world rather than in our Father’s word and promises? Has he not declared that he is our peace and rest? How often have we, like Adam and Eve, given into temptation of that which looks pleasing to our eyes and ears instead of the good things God gives us?

 

And so on this Ash Wednesday, our Lord calls us to repentance. Return to the Lord. Rend your hearts in repentance, the prophet Joel calls out. Return to the good and gracious God who formed us and breathed the breath of eternal life into us by the Holy Spirit. Return to your Father who satnds daily, gazing out the window, eagerly waiting for us prodigal sons and daughters to come home. Come home, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, to the garden kept and prepared for you.

Do you fear the anger of the almighty judge who exiled us along with Adam and Eve from the Garden? Fear not, for his anger has been spent upon His Son, the second Adam who accomplished his exodus in the grave for you.

 

Do you fear the cherubim, who were posted at the gates of Eden long ago with flaming swords in their hands? Fear not, for these angels have hammered their swords into trumpets announcing your return from exile as we rejoice that in Christ the last enemy of Death is destroyed forever. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, a new paradise stands wide open for you. And the angels who once guarded its way, now lead the way with praises of Glory to God in the highest and holy, holy, holy upon their lips.

 

Do you fear the ancient serpent. Who beguiled Eve and defiled Adam and who sank his poisonous fangs into all humanity? Fear not, for the God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. Indeed, the heel of the woman’s seed, Jesus himself, has already smashed the skull of that slithering devil from atop the tree of the cross. His blessed heel has absorbed the venom of sin and walked out of the tomb three days later.

 

Fear not. For your exile from Eden has come to an end in Jesus. “Today,” he says from the cross, “you will be with me in paradise.” The same was said at your baptism where you were buried into Christ’s death and rose again with him in his resurrection. And now, he remembers you when he comes into his kingdom.

 

Today we wipe the jungle mud of this fallen world off our feet. For you are washed in the absolving river that flows from the heart of Eden. Here in the Eden of the Church, you are truly at home. God prepares a table before you beneath the branches of the tree of life. Take, eat, dine on the fruit and be filled with the life of the One who gave his life for you on its branches. Take, drink, slake your thirst in the crimson fruit of his vine. Here is a forgiving feast of Paradise regained, restored, renewed.

 

By the sweat of his face, with drops of blood, Christ our second Adam, has won for you the bread of life. In love, he has earned your way back into the Eden of God’s presence. In love, he has crushed the head of the serpent. In love, he has bid the angels sheath their swords. In pure and perfect love, he has made everything ready for you, his beloved bride, his Eve, his Church. Come to him who is bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. Welcome back from exile. Welcome back to Eden. Paradise was lost, but now in Jesus paradise is regained.

 

A blessed Ash Wednesday to you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com