Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Gospel [Feast of the Reformation; Rev. 14:6-7]

“What was the Reformation all about?”. Posed with that question, I’m sure you could give me many responses and the world would also love to chime in.

Among them would be big government, liberation of the people, education, freedom fighting, only for that time, and so on. Almost no one will speak of Gospel or privilege. Indeed it is one that gives us the other.

The Gospel, proclaimed in its purity, will give privilege. Not just blessing from God, but the privilege of hearing it. For, if Faith comes by hearing, then consider it a great, great privilege to hear the Gospel.

It is so important, that from the reading of Revelation, a flying angel has the specific task to evangelize all those who are set on earth. But with “gospel” being such an overused word today, how do we know what purity is or that we have it?

Sts. Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John do a really excellent job in telling us what that purity ISN’T. According to them, the Gospel does not come through unbelievers, acts of the Law, or sin. In fact, anything apart from God; His words and His work, is very clearly satanic.

From God’s Word, we have declaration that all of history has been in existence in order that we would be saved. That in that history, God has revealed Himself in various ways by prophets, priests, kings, 10 Commandments, etc. We also have the Epiphany that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

All this, and more, available in easy to read type; thanks, in large part, to the printing press, which came about because of the Reformation.

From God’s work, we see God Himself acting. Him creating all things, Him ordering His own Worship services, Him leading and guiding His own people, and Him calling all the shots. Indeed, we even see God become a part of His own creation, humbling Himself in the form of a servant.

What is extraordinary is that one is not had without the other. You can not have the Word of God apart from the works of God or vice versa. Even if you read the Holy Scriptures word for word. Even if it is all you ever say, talk, or sing, it will do you no good. As we see from the Temptation of Jesus, the devil knows the Bible better than you ever will.

Likewise, simply watching God act alone is not enough. Yes, you can watch Him create, heal, and comfort, but you will also have to watch Him kill, destroy, and punish. Without His Word, we have a bipolar and dysfunctional god, saving and damning for no reason. Without His works, we have no knowledge of His love or compassion.

Thus, the purity of the Gospel is this: the only-begotten Son of God. Jesus didn’t just come with rainbows and sunny days, but with tempest and darkness. Jesus didn’t just come healing and calling children, but with whips and cords.

Most importantly; I would even say of SOLE importance, Jesus came with a cross to mount. Jesus came with a work to do and it was to suffer, die, and three days later, rise again.

The purity of the Gospel, then, is that Christ did it and He did it all. You can not, by your own reason or strength believe in Jesus or come to Him. You can not, by your own reason or strength add to your sanctification or holiness. Any gift you may receive from God, after He saves you in Baptism, is icing on the cake.

LIKEWISE, you can not by your own reason or strength prevent Jesus from going to the cross and dying for you and the rest of the world. You can not sin your way out of heaven and you can not doubt your way from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

You can reject Him, His words and works, but you can not prevent Him. Thus, the crux of the Reformation. Man and tradition can not stop the complete Word and works of Jesus from doing what it is there to do: save and forgive.

No earthly authority, no freedom of conscience, no feeling; no absolutely nothing will do it. This eternal Gospel will be proclaimed and will evangelize as it is heard. The Gospel that Jesus Christ, true God and true man; the only one from heaven and the only to return, has come to sacrifice Himself on the cross on behalf of all sinners.

FOR FREE. No conditions. No payments. No requirements. Just a gift: full and complete. And no war, no sin, no disease, and no death can ever change that. Just Christ, on the cross, given and shed, for you. And it is your privilege and right, as a son of God, to now receive such a gift.


Monday, October 27, 2014

War is not [Trinity 19; St. Matthew 9:1-8]

Jesus is speaking to you, from His own Gospel, saying,

“And behold, some people brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’”


And what Jesus is revealing is that no good comes from war. Indeed, Stephen Crane, author of the Red Badge of Courage, penned a poem titled: War is kind, puts it in these words:

“Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.

Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky

And the affrighted steed ran on alone,

Do not weep.

War is kind.”


And, “Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.

Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,

Raged at his breast, gulped and died,

Do not weep.

War is kind.”

         “Mother whose heart hung humble as a button

On the bright splendid shroud of your son,

Do not weep.

War is kind.”

Only portions of that poem, but the message is clear: war breaks spirits and bodies. So, too does Mma Ramotswe, of the No.1 Lady’s Detective Agency, express this idea in this quote: “We see war for what it really is- a matter of broken bodies and crying mothers.”

Along with many others who protest war, I’m sure. And it is very well and good to be against that kind of thing. It is not right and there is no place for war nor its fruits in the New Creation.

The problem is, that you see war as far away. You see it only through the lens of history and the glasses of the media. It is thousands of miles away from your house, in Africa, the Mid-East, or South America. What does that have to do with you and Jesus?

Oh, you say, it’s a metaphor. Yes Jesus is trying to tell me that the wars I fight, dysfunctional family members, children, moving, change of jobs, etc, are what I am to be gaining victory over. If Jesus were to just see my faith and positive attitude, He would give me victory over those “wars” in my life. Dear Jesus, thank you for making me so much better than those people who fight real wars. In your Name. Amen.

Repent! War is not just that which mothers cry over. Neither is it only an army, with guns, taking your things and lives. The real war; the war that spawns all wars, is raging inside each and every human on earth. Our Lord tells us,
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”

So, you see this come to light in your own bodies. You get sick, you get old, you die. In your own person the struggle against life and death is raging and, as we say, death is certain and life is fragile. It seems as if death will be the victor as our graveyards attest.

Yes, you are at war within your own members simply because of the fact that Christ has declared you His own, in Baptism, and the world will not have that. Your sinful self can not allow the work of salvation to be done in you and so it fights back in the only way it can: corruption.

Jesus has created you, body and soul, yet sin has corrupted them. The work Jesus came to do and still comes to do, is re-creation. What we have lost in our sin is the Image of God. Without this, we remain in sin and are undone. What Jesus created, sin and death attempt to undo and destroy.

However, God made Himself a man. In Jesus, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in a 100% human body. Thus, Jesus subjects Himself to temptation, suffering, and death. In this way, Jesus then steps in front of us. He places Himself in-between corruption and us and takes the full brunt of the attack.

This is the cross. Christ on the cross is the crux of all time and history as it is the place where God meets His enemy. It is the place where sin, death, and hell make their final surge onto the Throne of heaven. The charge is made, but is turned aside with the sacrifice of Jesus.

Jesus dying on the cross undoes death. The tragic existence of war and death are stopped forever as Christ offers Himself as the atoning sacrifice and cleansing the world of evil.

For, war is not kind. Regardless of the heroism and justice that it can produce, war is not a part of Creation. God did not make death. God’s plan is not for us to suffer. God’s will is not disease or sin.

We should not lacks-a-daisily accept war, death, or sin as just a part of the circle of life. We should not offer comforts to those suffering through it in the likes of, “God has a plan”, because yes, God has a plan, but it is not this.

I will tell you God’s plan for your life. I will tell you what God is in charge of and what His will is for you. God wants to create you, Himself, not letting a robot or angel do the work. He wants to create stability for you, not just in family, but also in history. He wants to sustain you today and He wants to prepare your future. All this is accomplished through His Son, dying on the cross. God’s will and plan is to forgive all sins.

In the total corruption of your natural self, Jesus comes, working. He comes in order to declare that the Kingdom of God is for you. You don’t know that any other way, except Jesus dying on the cross for you. Because it is only by that one act, that God blesses. It is solely by the crucifixion of Jesus, that all of creation and even the entire kingdom of heaven is ours.

It is only by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, that war is made powerless over us. Come, war, take all you want. Take life, liberty, justice, and family. There is nothing you can take that Jesus can not give back in the Resurrection. Come now, death, what can you do? Bring misery, grief, and solitude? These Christians are not dead. They are asleep. Alive and waiting with Jesus.

Now, where poets and authors want to paint a picture of “no hope”, in the face of war; where opinion seems to only offer you to be for war or to have some false idea of peace, there is a third option. The third option is disdain. We now mock and taunt war and death, to death.

We no longer sarcastically need to say, “Do not weep for war is kind”. Now we say,

“Do not weep, dear Christian for war is over

Because your Savior threw wild hands open on the cross

And the affrighted sin and death ran on alone to the grave,”

You will not go with them, to the grave, because Jesus did not go with them, but returned. No false peace needs to be sought and no false security needs to be accomplished.

For the Kingdom of God is come near to everyone’s paralysis of sin and death. And though today’s paralytic gets to rise and walk, we will all get to rise and walk with him and Jesus on the last day, when all flesh will rise; and me and all believers in Christ will receive eternal life as a gift.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Closed doors [Feast of St. Luke; St. Luke 10:1-9]

St. Luke is our beloved third Evangelist and our patron saint, so to speak. Not only is he a part of the name of our church, but he has written two books of Holy Scripture: his gospel and the Book of Acts. He is also known as having the “most loveable book ever written” as I could not imagine Christmas or Charlie Brown without a Luke 2 reading.

A reading which informs us of an invading army. Jesus is born King of kings, but there is already a king in Judea and Rome. For Herod claimed Israel as his throne and Caesar claimed the world. So we hear the people tell Pontius Pilate at the Trial of Jesus, “We have no king but Caesar!” (Jn.19:15)

Today, Jesus speaks to us of the King coming as He sums up,

“Upon you all, the Kingdom of God has come near!”


And war is engaged. Jesus sends out the 72, door to door, in order to proclaim “Peace”. Maybe they would even use the words of Isaiah,

“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:”

However, the 72 will not be received as bringing peace, for we have two different elements involved in their sending: 1) they are told to enter the houses and 2) the first thing they are to do is speak “Peace”. Having to declare peace as the very first thing, seems to suggest that maybe the move into the house is seen as hostile.

Indeed, the Law comes first. Because Jesus is a savior, you need to be saved from something. In this case, as the kingdom of God draws near, the depth of sin is felt more keenly. The wrath and hostility of God towards sin is so apparent, it’s felt.

So, too when you all hear this command of Jesus to “Go and Tell”, you feel the weight of your neglect. You are to be going and telling all the time; not just when it’s convenient and not just to people who are friendly. You are to go, now. Get in those houses. Proclaim that Word.

Now, place yourself behind the door being knocked upon: do you open it to such a person? We pray that God’s kingdom come among us, but we don’t fully understand what that looks like. If a kingdom were marching down your street, you wouldn’t open doors, you would close them. In the retinue would be many soldiers, weapons of war, enforcers, executioners, and tax collectors.

Or maybe it’s simply an armed-to-the-teeth police force, knocking, demanding compliance. Do you open your door?

Now, the Lord of Hosts comes near. Jesus is knocking, but this is not a house call, it is the End. Just as it is too late to flee an army already marching down the street, so also is it too late for the houses that Jesus and His disciples are knocking on. Too late for you. Time’s up. God demands payment for your trespasses. Either you are a son of Peace or you are not.

Repent! Jesus is God, the very one you’ve sinned against, and He comes near with His Kingdom. Jesus says,
“For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and…a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” (Mt.10:35-36)

So, will you open your door to Jesus, today?

You won’t. Not yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Your sinful self knows the reward being handed out for your trespasses and it is death. To you, God is a tyrant Who delights in killing, turning people away, and making rules and regulations impossible to follow.

Dear Christians, even these rebellious actions of yours will not stop Jesus. For, not only does He barge in, overturning all that sin and the devil have done to this place, but He also kills. He takes a hold of you and drowns you, putting that old man to death, in order that a new man would arise.

Seeing Jesus on the cross tells us that the war is over. You missed it; and thank God you did, for there was much suffering, much blood-letting, and much death. While you were dead in your sins, Christ single-handedly accomplished satisfaction for your sins. He took your reward of death and has given you His Life, in the exchange He accomplished and gives through Baptism.

Here is now, why the 72 must first say “Peace”. The violence which we see in the crucifixion is the violence necessary to separate you from your sins. This is why the “Peace” that Christians must proclaim, in Jesus’ Name, is the crucifixion. For it is there that we see Peace made with God.

This is the reason we keep Jesus’ body on our crosses. In Jesus dying on the cross, the battle is joined, the war is won, and we are given a true symbol of the peace that now rests between God and man.

Jesus, on the cross, lets the sinner know that it is ok to open the door and that God is on their side. It is the crucifix that stands to remind the world that when Christ comes knocking; when the final trumpet sounds, Jesus will find, behind that door, sons of Peace, because He made us so.

Peace is now upon you all, because Jesus has cleansed you and saved you in Baptism. Peace is in your possession, because Jesus continues to preach it to you by His Gospel. Peace is yours, because Jesus declares that, in this place, His Body and Blood are given and shed FOR YOU, as opposed to “against you”.

Jesus does not send His Church into the world to extract decisions or to wait for an open door to enable Him to work. Your response to Jesus knocking is not an act of free will, but a confession of what has already taken place in you, by grace.

As a completely free gift, you are now a son of peace and Jesus comes setting the Table, eating, and drinking. You now hear Jesus say, “Peace” and know He means it. You now have the true Name of God baptized into your hearts and foreheads; the mark of the Kingdom of heaven.

You now handle the true Body and true Blood of Christ the Lord and so know that your warfare is accomplished. That your iniquity is pardoned. For the Kingdom of God comes near, even to this place, and declares that the King has sacrificed Himself, for you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Up high; down low [Trinity 17; St. Luke 14:1-11]

In a battle, when two armies engage on the field, there must always be a field general. A man who is “higher up” above the battle, so to speak, in order that he may see everything happen then, react and direct accordingly. On very rare occasions, this general will be fighting, however, more likely he is sitting on a hill, far away.

In this same way, Jesus speaks to us of this situation today, in saying,

“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.”

On a hill, far away, the general is set up higher so that he can observe and direct his army. And what is his army? More than likely, men such as himself. Maybe even women, depending on the country. Regardless, the man “up higher” has little to no risk in battle. At stake is simply his reputation and austerity.

It is those who are lower, on the front lines, that are risking it all. But instead of looking down on those “higher up”, there is a sort of agreement. The infantry agrees to fight to the death in order that the higher ups do right by them. In a strange and morbid twist, almost unknown to Americans nowadays, the “lower downs” put their lives on the line for something they believe in.

For, in order for that belief or value to take shape, you need more than one person. If each person solely fought for their own private beliefs, no one would win and there would be no consensus for anything. Just as the “lowers” are forced to be backed by a “higher up”, so too are they “forced” to get along with and gather mutual support.

So, there really is no way for one person to move forward on their own, especially against an enemy, because even the enemy understand the need for force and numbers and he will always send numbers against even one. So, in order to find a “way”, people must work together. In order to find a way, some one person must be in charge to lead the way.

Our Hymn of the Day (LSB 557), then, seems to be quite smart. For it flings up its hands in our faces and dismisses us, DARES us to find our own way. “Seek where you may…” it says, even “Seek whom you may…”. Especially in the heat of a losing battle, many are tempted to find their own way, be the hero, or just plain desert the cause. The temptation is most keen when the “higher up” is taken “lower down” and defeated.

So, today God sets it before us. In our Old Testament, Epistle, and Introit where we hear simply and plainly: God is higher up; we are lower down. “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence…” You are not the king or anyone the king should recognize. In fact, St. Paul says that there is only one Lord; before Whom you are to walk worthily, in all humility and gentleness, with patience.

Repent. You are the created, not the Creator. Your own works and ways are soiled as filthy rags. The will of God is always best, especially when you don’t think so. If God chooses to place you on the side that seems to be losing, then no matter how positive your energy is, you will lose.

You are awash in the tides of battle and the waves are over your head. You are led to believe that you are treading water, when really you have been under too long and will not make it. Moreover, your “higher up”; your “one to redeem Israel” has been crucified and buried. Where will you turn to, now?

Indeed, with small attendance numbers, weak pastors, back-biting members, and powerless words, the temptation to fly and abandon your post is oppressive. The incredulity that the words of one book, the splash of a bit of water, and bread and wine is what brings victory to this place, is massive.

Dear Christians, you already occupy a very low place in being dead in your trespasses against God. The only place beneath that is being an innocent man punished for the trespasses of another. This is what Jesus does for you.

For, the Pharisees had the right questions. They, being the soldiers lower down, question God directly. They say that theirs is the best way to follow the Law without breaking it. Sure, people may get hurt or suffer in the process, but it is better than being condemned by God, right?

How do you heal a man who is sick? Do you not have to come into contact with the disease, yourself, in order to administer treatment? And how do you get someone out of a pit with no tools? Do you not have to jump in, yourself, and hoist the other out, thereby trapping yourself?

More importantly, how do you make sure to sit low enough to look humble, yet high enough to be noticed you are sitting low enough?

Jesus knows. Jesus sits so low, He is on the cross. And yet, He is so high up there, that He is not to be missed by anyone. Has our Championed died in battle? Yes. Has He risen again? Yes.

Talk about a turning of tides! Jesus is at once the general “high up” and the “sacrificed infantry” down low. He is in both places doing the same work: dying on the cross in victory. How very backwards. Just as backwards as sitting in the lowest place and expecting to be raised up. Unless you are looked for, it will never happen.

We know the Lord is looking for us because He became one of us. We know the Lord is seeking after us, because we are told that we have no means to signal Him. We know the Lord has sought us and found us when we hear the words of forgiveness being spoken over us.

For, though we have been steamrolled under sin, death, and the devil, Jesus walks through the graveyards and the killing fields. He goes and brings life. If we are hearing Jesus and if we are believing Jesus, then the victory has already been given to us. We have fallen from the front but taken to the “higher up”.

Even the dead hear Jesus’ command, “Friend, move up higher”. It is not a goal. It is not a destination. It is a gift. You did nothing to earn it and you can do nothing to get rid of it, short of denying it completely. In the sacrifice that Jesus makes, He clears the front lines, moving every one of you higher up and leaving Himself down low.

Christ, on the cross, has moved all of humanity up higher. In sacrificing Himself, Jesus has assumed human nature itself into God Himself. Being both 100% God and 100% man, Jesus opens the gates of heaven to all believers. Placing His Name upon us in Baptism, He then seals the certainty with which we can truly fear, love, and trust that where He is and will be, we also will be there, with them.

In the Gospel reading, it is not a matter of finding the right seat, the right pit to fall in, or even the right disease to contract so that God will bless you. It is a matter of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is a matter of cosmic salvation. It is a matter of the Lord giving out of His victory, not just giving, but giving to you.

And it is the higher seat that is being given to you, for we hear Jesus say today, “Come friend, move up higher”, even to touch, see, and taste God Himself.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Last week, as we heard of wars even in heaven, we hear the continued lament of Jesus even as He confronts death itself on the battlefield saying to us today,

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”

In this turn of the Trinity season, we are now made painfully aware of the fact that the Church’s harvest season has come. That soon, the time will come when the angels will be sent into the fields to reap the bounty and to cast aside the chaff into the fire.

Indeed, as we find ourselves living in these last days, with the Lord’s return so near, we see the world, the devil, and our sinful nature in a fury. Nothing is sacred, nothing is holy, and nothing is beneath them. Any and all means are used to tear up the field of God in hopes that the harvest is reduced to famine.

As we get close to harvest time ourselves, we will soon be looking upon overturned fields. Where, all summer, these fields were lush with greenery in order to provide hope for the future, soon they will be laid waste and lie dormant. They will have been ravaged for their treasure and left for dead.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus expounds on war for us, but today He is not talking about war as we are used to it: brother against brother, firebomb after firebomb, nuclear threat after nuclear threat; bio-chemical weapons, etc., etc.

Though it will be the same outcome, Jesus, today, is telling us about the true war. He is showing us that there is a war that spawns all wars on earth. This is pictured by the woman and the loss of her only-begotten son.

Death has rolled over this young man and left nothing behind. Indeed, as the devil marches across the world, over and over again, he leaves nothing but scorched earth behind him. The war we heard about last week, fought by St. Michael and the angels, ended very well and in favor of the right side.

However, the war we must fight has not ended and even lasts a lifetime. Not just are we in danger of getting sick, crippled, or of dying, but we are also in danger of turning away from God. The greater danger, I would say, for the devil is not satisfied with the death of the sinner. Satan wishes for the eternal death of the sinner, turned from God.

And how does he accomplish that? He does not hallow God’s Name or let His kingdom come. God’s Name is kept holy when it is taught in its truth and purity and we lead holy lives according to it. You know, going to church, giving your offering, helping your neighbor, preaching the Faith. Likewise, the Kingdom comes when we lead godly lives according to the Holy Spirit which our heavenly Father gives to us; meaning, practice what you preach.

Repent. When ANY of those things are out of whack, the devil wins. And so many of you have become sick, because of it. Many of you have died. Many of you have succumb to the wiles and sweet lies of the enemy. All of you have fallen short of the glory of God and have therefore found yourself steam-rolled by the devil’s war machine.

“Do not weep”, Jesus says, to a widow covered in sorrow and left alone by the ravages of war. “Do not weep”, Jesus says to the crowd carrying their charge; a crowd only there because they are paid to be.

“Do not weep”, Jesus says ALSO to the dead boy and ALSO to you all here today. Yes, Jesus speaks to dead people. In the midst of wars and rumors of wars, Christ the Lord comes down from heaven. Not to heal, mend, or strengthen, but to recreate.

Dear Christians, that son still died and he will have to die again, even after Jesus resurrected him and gave him back to his mother. We all will have to face one war or another. Whether we get to die peacefully at home, ravaged by sin or die at the hands of an oncoming enemy; it is the Son of God who goes forth to war and not our sin-sick selves.

In this world of death and constant war, Jesus becomes a man; a man subject to His own laws, to hunger, thirst, sorrow, and even death. A man without sin who, guilty of no crime or disobedience, strides joyfully and confidently to the cross in order to end all wars, all death, and all sin.

In this struggle, temporal and eternal, Jesus is the sole victor. In this miracle of resurrection He proves that He will be the victor. In His own resurrection, He proves that it IS true. In Baptism, He proves that He gives it to you.

We say, “Do not weep” with Jesus because death is no more than a slumber for the baptized. Now a part of Christ’s Body, we share in His victory. Baptized into His death and resurrection, this war, the coming war, or any other war can not harm us. Yes, we will be filled with grief, but anything taken away, will be given back.

Victorious over sin and death, Jesus suffers and dies. In this suffering and death, Jesus calls not the righteous, healthy, or mighty, but the sinner, the sick, and the weak. So now are the armies of God a rabble? Far from it. For in their own resurrection, they are like their Captain.

In this way, we can be sick, feeble, and worthless, because Jesus is our Life. He is our substitute, our strong man, and our treasure. As Christ strides through this war-torn earth, where we sit, not just struggling with sin, but even with life itself, He comes to us. He finds us helpless and lost. He finds us, just as the young man in Nain today: dead in sin.

So, He speaks. What sin has undone, Christ recreates. What death has locked behind key and bar, Jesus steals back. What satan conquers, Jesus resurrects. The armies of God are far from worthless. We have been baptized into the very life of our Victorious Captain; exhaustion is not in our vocabulary anymore.

With a clean heart and the right Spirit, sickness, wholeness, handicap, fatigue, and even death do not stop this great white host that you are a part of. “Do not weep” says Jesus. Though we are in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, the sun is rising. Death has been defeated; Satan, our accuser, has been thrown down.

“See your son lives.” Those who have fallen asleep before us are with the Lord, not lying on the battlefield. Our own loved ones live, because their Lord lives. Even we, though our minds and bodies fail us and betray us to sin, even today, live.

In our confession of right doctrine; in remembrance of Baptism; in hearing the Gospel and in eating and drinking, Jesus says to us, “Do not weep, for YOU live!” You are hearing the Words of Jesus, who created the universe; He will certainly forgive your sins. You are eating and drinking the Bread of Life and it will not be taken from you.

 Flowing and following behind Jesus the Victor, is not sickness or death, but power and life. For Christ was crucified, died and was buried never to die again. And that Good News shakes even the dead to life and even you all, out of your slumbering.