Called You by Name

Called You by Name

Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and
from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Victor over death, your Victor and
mine. Amen.

When the children of Israel were being led out of Egypt, out
of slavery, out of death, without any hope, they were brought by a great
mountain, Mount Sinai, a mountain that they could not touch nor any animal
placed its foot on. For, if they were to place their foot upon, they would die.
But you, the new Israel, the church, you have not been brought to a mountain
were you to touch you would die. You have been brought to the mountain that
brings life just as Isaiah prophesied. He will swallow up death on this
mountain and dispense the same victor resurrection to you on this mountain,
here in your home where you were born, where you were brought up, where you
were nourished, nurtured, and given all that God can give. This is the place
where God called you by your name and made you His child. Whether it was in
this building or not, it was among other people who heard the pastor ask your
parents, “How is this child to be named?” And your mom and your dad, they gave
the pastor the name and spoke it, and the pastors recited that same name, the
name you go by, and baptized you in the name of the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit into the life and death of Christ that you would be victor and not

Here is the feast of the finest of wines. Here is the place
where our Lord gives you His victory in a very tangible way, not in a feeling
and not in a reminder of our mind, but in a very corporal taste bud associated
way where He gives you Himself and His victorious Resurrection. But it all
began when the pastor, really Christ, called you by name and you were made
alive. You thought the same thing when you brought your little one to the same
font possibly and were asked the same question: “How is this child to be
named?” And you and your beloved spoke the name to the pastor and the pastor baptized
your baby. And you heard God speak that child’s name and make that child His

Let me tell you a really cool story about exactly what Paul
wrote in the Corinthian lesson this morning about God’s grace working mightily.
My first tour to Iraq on Easter, I baptized a soldier who had no church
background whatsoever. He was curious about the church, Christianity. He had
his own preconceived ideas, but he had no idea about the depth of God’s great
grace. And in our conversations from the October when I arrived till the
following late March when Easter fell that year, we talked often about what God
had done. Now, if I wanted to talk to him, I had to go outside with him where
he smoked his cigarettes one after the other. So I would light up a cigar and sit
down and smoke for a while with him and talk about these things. And he had
been baptized on that Easter morning out in the middle of a field on that great
base in Northern Iraq. And I just got an email from him this week. He’s finishing
his studies at Concordia-Seward. He’s retiring from the Army after twenty
years. He and his wife and his two children are traveling to St. Louis to go to
the seminary this fall. You, through you and your commitment to God’s grace did
God do something in that young man’s life.

Now, God doesn’t always give us these really cool stories or
these really cool examples, but never let what this world can do drag those
thoughts of God’s joy and triumph this day away from you. Let not this world’s
cynicism and negativism draw you away from what God has done in you and what
God has done through ugly people like you and me whom God has redeemed, whom
God has called from death to life and has placed in this world to be salt in
this world, to be the leaven of this world, to be the light in this world of
such hope and of such victory and of such peace.

Earlier this morning you heard the rain as it fell, and
Satan’s torment in this world’s negative, against God’s great Gospel and
strength, erodes away joy from you and me. Let it not steal it from you. Be
joyful for what God has done in and through God’s great grace. Just like Paul
rejoiced in what God had done. No, your and my life, just like that young man’s
life is not a poster child of wonderful, pious behavior. We know that. Let not
Satan rob you of your victory over death. You’re bound to your loved ones who
have preceded you whom you have grieved and cried tears over. You are bound to
them and they to you and you all to Christ because He spoke your name at your

Mary was overwhelmed with emotion. Her head must have been
bouncing like a ping pong ball all over the place as she walked to the tomb
bright and early on this day of the week, of all days, which is why we gather
here. It’s our day of victory. And when she came to that tomb and looked upon
her Lord, she did not recognize Him. Was it because she was overwhelmed? I know
I have been overwhelmed with emotion when I didn’t feel as if Christ was right
there with me, or even carrying me, which I know he did. I know you have gone
through such things where you’re wondering, Is God here?

“Mary,” He spoke, and her eyes were opened and she
recognized Him. Just like you became alive when God spoke your name at your
baptism and at your babies’ baptisms. You have been made alive and you have
heard such a call, or you would not be gathered here this morning. You would
not be here to feast upon the mountain that brings life as it prepares us for
the unending feast in Heaven where all who believe as we will be gathered and
no one, no one will tear you away.

Mary had to return to her life. After this great event, she
had to get back into the swing of day-in-and-day-outness and so do you. But
that’s why we gather every week on this day of our victory. Come home again. Hear
your name again spoken by your Lord’s lips. Eat the feast that He has prepared
for you again and know your victory is sure and certain. Your hope has been
restored. Your peace is locked.

Christ is risen!

[Congregation]: He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your
hearts and your minds on Christ Jesus to life everlasting.