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Gospel: John 8:31-36

31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”   34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

A couple went up in a hot air balloon. Soon, things went awry and they were way off course. They were TOTALLY lost and had no idea where they were when finally came down in the middle of an open field. A man was standing at the edge of the field, and had watched the balloon land. The woman called out to him, “Sir, can you tell us where we are?”

The man answered, “Why yes, you are in a hot air balloon!”

The woman turned to her friend in the balloon, and said, “I bet that man is a preacher!”

“Why is that?” her friend asked.

She said, “Because what he said is absolutely true, and what he said has absolutely NO RELEVANCE to our situation!”

I can still remember what it was like to sit in the pews and wonder the same thing – what that preacher is saying is true, but what does it have to do with me?” Sometimes, it seems as if the church is out of “touch” with where I am.

Today, we celebrate Reformation Sunday. This day we set aside to celebrate the beginning of the protestant reformation, set into motion by the words and actions of one, Martin Luther.

Some 500 years ago, Martin Luther, a priest and theologian in the Roman Catholic Church, was motivated by the desire to see REFORM in the church, because Luther believed the church had lost sight of the truth of God’s Word. Luther’s intention was NOT to start a new denomination, or to break away from Rome, but to bring the church back to the foundation of God’s Word, and that alone! The truth that Luther came to know in his study of God’s Word was, and is, good news for all people. Luther’s desire was to free the church from its hoarding of the good news of freedom and grace, and share that message with the people of God. The people needed to be in touch with God, and the church was getting in the way!

Max DePree, in his book, “Leadership Jazz” tells of the birth of his granddaughter. Max’s daughter gave birth to this child two months pre-mature. When she was born she weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces. Because the father of this child skipped town a month before she was born, Max and his wife came to help out. Max says his granddaughter was so small, his wedding ring could fit over the baby’s arm, and go all the way up to her shoulder.

The doctors told the family that there was a five to ten percent chance the child would live more than two days. One of the nurses told Max and his wife that when they came to see the baby, to make sure they touched her arms, and her legs and her body gently with their fingers, talk to her and tell her how much you love her, over and over again. Why? The nurse told Max that his granddaughter needed the connection between the voice and the touch to grow and to live. That is exactly what they did, and that touch saved her life.

We need God’s saving touch. It is the touch of Jesus Christ, who came to us in the flesh – God with us, to offer the touch of God. He touched the untouchable, he loved the unlovable, and forgave the unforgivable! His word is truth.

Let us pray: Almighty God, your Word is truth, the truth of your love, your forgiveness, your touch. Thank you for the truth that sets us free. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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