Emmitsburg Council of Churches


A reading from PSALM 8:1

O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 8:2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger. 8:5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. 8:6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, 8:7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 8:9 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

*You may also wish to read John 16:12-15

The Three Fold Nature of God

From today's Scriptures we have a host of different images and thoughts about the Three-Fold Nature of God: The Father is Sovereign Creator of All, The Son is Savior and Lord of our Lives and the Spirit is Wisdom, Advocate and our Guide through Life.

From Psalm 8 we notice some interesting things about God:

God is so Strong as to embrace the unintelligible noises of Children - we know this when we read from the Psalmist's reflective and metaphorical speech: "Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger (Psalm 8:2)."

As you heard that . . . did you catch that word "bulwark?" A bulwark is a strong wall – like an indestructible fortress that cannot be broken down or a protective barrier that cannot be moved or overcome.

What the psalmist is saying is that, with God, the most indefensible of human beings, "little kids," are like a strong wall or a fortress of defense that can Protect from advancing armies or shells of destruction. If we think of this literally -- it sounds completely preposterous! Just as this sounds way over the top as an illustration...just so -- the psalmist has given us one of those reversals of our normal expectations in terms of faith. Because we are more often the people of little faith that Jesus refers to–we often need to be challenged and pushed to believe God. However, this morning we are forced to enter into the vision of the Psalmist who believes that, with God, all things are possible!

Today, we are invited to believe in the mysterious power of the Triune God, and being Memorial Day Sunday, is a good time to use our imagination when it comes to envisioning things that are not–as though they are, will be, and can be relied upon. We need to renew a sincere ability to believe and trust God for things we do see happening now – I mean good things, pure things, things that express innate Truths (such as the witness of creation) and restoration of freedom for those unjustly held in bondage by tyranny of force of another's will or greed.

In military service, particularly for fighter pilots in the Air Force, Navy or Marines there is the familiar term "Wingman." Your Wing-man is literally your right and/or left arm of defense. He or she is also your best buddy – or, we might say, has your best interests at heart. The wing-man or woman -- covers you with a shield of protection. However, if you break the formation, or leave the group . . . or even worse, if you are the wing-man or wing-woman and you leave the group formation. Then you have left everyone else vulnerable to attack!

As a soldier who is in combat relies on more than him or herself for a victorious outcome (or survival), so it is that we as soldiers of the cross–rely on Christ, who is exceedingly more than any of us ever will be. However, there is another law at work here, in that, we are most in Christ when we are relying on each other! For when we are gathered together–"in formation," that is, formed together as the Body of Christ, then we are truly of One Mind, One Faith and One Body. This is a picture of the church–where we, by Christ's leadership, act as wing-man and wing-women for each other. "I got your back."

Perhaps here is a THOUGHT that a Soldier would take comfort in:

It is a matter of one's Faith and Vision to be able to recognize that God is the One who provides my Safety and Strength and a Comforting Shield and presence in the midst of my enemies or from someone who may wish to do me harm. For the believer – the person of Faith --times of testing become times of initiating our faith response.... Trials and tribulations become "God Time" because we must rely on the Spirit's guidance and be led by Christ as we realize, most profoundly, our need of salvation, protection or forgiveness as the case may be.

Take Comfort Christian! Your commanding officer is Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory! For he is here, nearby, as a close companion and in the day of vengeance–his mantle shall be your covering. Though you fall, yet shall you rise to life everlasting. In this life–Christ will lead you, protect you and be as a bulwark of safety for you in the midst of many trials. Both his compassion for us and the power of God at work through Christ, rising from the dead, these are the strength and comfort of a Christian.

GOD's POWER IS THAT WHICH CROSSES THE DIVIDE BETWEEN WHAT a MAN or WOMAN IS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH ON THEIR OWN AND WHAT IS POSSIBLE by leaning into the Spirit's directives. Jesus reminds us of this where he says: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13)."

Perhaps going into a job interview with this kind of assurance that the Lord is with you and will give you the words to say or when you are faced with a dilemma at home or in a relationship; inviting and allowing and believing that THE SPIRIT will Guide you in these matters ...hear This voice, let it guide and instruct your thinking, your heart and your mind! Keep in mind the words of Jesus and you will have that assurance of your salvation and wise dealings with others.

For The Christian: HAVING GODLY VISION or a STRONG FAITH AND TRUST IN CHRIST–as a good soldier listens to the wise general, or a wingman remains in formation while flying into combat....these are acts of DUTY and, to a certain degree, FAITH....or TRUST in the AUTHORITY of the Other.

Trusting in the ONE WHO ULTIMATELY HOLDS Your Life in their care This One we speak of by faith is the One God in three persons who loves and keeps us – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit–- HERE IS OUR STRENGTH AND FORTRESS.



As in our Creed, I Believe in The Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I believe in God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord–who Dying on the Cross, saved me from my sins, and, RISING has given me Assurance of Eternal Life, and I believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Life Giver– my Helper, Comforter and Guide.

These Three are my Bulwark of Strength for this life and the Next – come what May – I believe in Christ alone, by Faith alone (which I cannot even muster up by myself) am I saved, herein is my Rock of salvation!

THE FUNNY THING is . . . God is So Big, and yet God is Mindful of the most puny and minuscule of beings – that is, You and Me!

As the Psalmist conjectures...."When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?" (Psalm 83-4)

THE REALMS OF SPACE THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE DISTANCES of the Universe's expanse... THE PHYSICS OF THE BIRTH OF A STAR, and GALAXIES OF STARS – THE GRAVITY THAT KEEPS EARTH AND MOON SAFELY BALANCED AND DISTANT FROM ONE ANOTHER – THAT THE SUN and the MOON'S combined GRAVITATIONAL PULL AFFECTS OUR OCEANS' TIDAL SYSTEMS....that the Movement of Tides in and out of the bays, tidal marsh and estuaries makes the complex web of biological systems work for young fish to develop and a myriad of sea creatures and birds and for humans to enjoy all these things . . . ALL SUCH DELICATE SYSTEMS, YET SO STRONG – Could any human mind have even conceived such things? Yet the Lord God made them all.

In light of all these things, should we not love and trust GOD the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to be our guide and the Lord of our lives??

Like the Soldier who may panic in the moment of battle....if he or she runs out of cover and forsakes the others...he may be gunned down. But when you are in the Company and cooperating with your fellow soldiers and coordinating......with THE ONEs WHO are Covering YOU. Then there is Guidance and Protection. Stay with your platoon, obey orders–everyone's counting on you, and yet, don't trust in your own ability or inability -- but allow Jesus to work through your life for the good of all!

Jesus said that he had come to give us LIFE. Not as the World gives but, real life -- life that is relevant for both this time on earth and for the Life to come. That is why, For the Christian, EVEN WHEN DEATH IS ALL AROUND. We Know our Joy is yet Assured. Do we cry and Suffer when a loved one dies....of course we do=-=because we are not inhuman, we need our fellow companions in this journey...and yet we believe in something beyond the here and now ... we have Jesus Assurance that there is life beyond this flesh. And that even in this realm – there is more to life than what we see and here today. We, as children of God, operating under the authority of Christ's teachings and by his example, can make this world a better place, a place where hunger and injustice have no place.

Finally, we do well to recognize where we lack in jubilation and thanksgiving to God in our own living. The Psalmist begins and ends Psalm 8 with Thanksgivings and Praise. O Lord, our Lord, how MAJESTIC is your NAME in all the EARTH!! That's a Hymn of Praise and an uplifting word that exalts the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Here is a worthy learning ...we should be giving thanks–verbally and yea . . .with a portion of our material blessings. With our Whole heart we want to glorify and Praise the Lord. In his Trinitarian personage...we want to Give God the glory and the Praise due to his Holy Name. That's how we're supposed to live as Gods' People....

May the peace of God which surpasses our human understanding fill you this day and always to overflowing, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Read more writings of Pastor Jon