Faith Lutheran School End of School Year Chapel – 26 May, Anno Domini 2017 – St. John 10:7-11 – Sermon by Pastor Kurt Ulmer
In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
We have heard this text very recently, if you’ll remember. Just a couple of weeks ago, during the week of the Fourth Sunday after Easter. It is a beautiful text and a wonderful one for us to have as the theme verse for our school this year.
This verse very simply answers the question we or others may often ask about Christian education and Faith Lutheran School – why? Why does it matter? Why drive out of your way? Why go to a school where we have gathered in this sanctuary every day that all our work and our play may begin with prayers and hymns and preaching? Why do we learn the Bible stories, learn the Small Catechism by heart year after year? Why?
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. Jesus wants you to have life, abundant life! That is why He has come. That is why He climbed Golgotha and laid down His own life – so that you could have it. That is an incredibly marvelous thing! Every day you have received this life. That’s why. In this place you have heard the Word of God, His Law and His Gospel. He has mercifully shown you your sin, not only to bring you to repentance but so that He might come again with the soothing balm of forgiveness and bind up your wounds, heal you, and give you abundant life!
Jesus says in Luke 12 verse 23, “For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.” These things come and go. Ms. Eddin’s lunches are wonderful but I’m guessing you’re still hungry at dinner. Your clothes that you wear today won’t fit you next year or may go out of style. Even your physical fitness and academic prowess aren’t your source of life. They are, to be sure, wonderful gifts from God which we pray He will daily use to His glory and the benefit of your neighbor. But they aren’t life. There is only One who can give that and He has come into your school every day to give it to you. Your Savior Jesus Christ has daily caused His Word of forgiveness to be shared with you so that you may have true, eternal life – His death-defying life which comes with life for all.
The Good Shepherd stands in your midst gently leading and guiding you by His Word through this valley of the shadow of death to bring you safely to the gates of eternal life. This whole year you have been blessed to be fed in the rich pastures of God’s Holy Word and your ears have drunk deeply of God’s love and mercy for you. How beautiful are the words of the fourth stanza of our hymn for this year: “Though around us death is seething, God, His two-edged sword unsheathing, By His Spirit life is breathing Through the living, active Word.” The Word. The Word. Jesus promises to give you life by His Word and because of that promise your parents, your teachers, and your pastors all together want you to be immersed in that Word every day of your life. Every day this year, God the Holy Spirit has been working through the Word to bring forth and strengthen faith in each of you that you may enjoy the life of Christ.
You have abundant life! Not in the things of this world. Not in your achievements or abilities. But you have abundant life in Christ who has laid down His life for you, His precious sheep through the waters of Holy Baptism. What you have received here is far more than a good education, which you have certainly received. You have received Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You have been surrounded by His love and forgiveness.
And now, as you eagerly await for that last bell to ring at 11:30 so that you can go and enjoy the summer, it is my fervent prayer that you will come and continue to receive the life that Jesus has to give you through His Word and Holy Sacraments, that you would continue to hunger and thirst for the food which the Good Shepherd has prepared for you by His death, resurrection, and ascension. May the abundant life of Christ be yours now and forever.
In the Name of +Jesus.