In the scriptures, there are many different titles by which we know God - comforter, deliverer, king of Israel, refuge, rock, and many more. Today’s reading uses Immanuel, which means “God is with us”. The essence of that image is to accentuate that God is truly with us, in the past, now and forever, and that God blesses us.
From Acts 16, the listeners are introduced to a business woman named Lydia,a seller of purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. Her conversion and baptism provide the impetus for the founding of the church at Philippi.
In Psalm 67 the writer calls on us to praise God. The power of the psalmist’s witness is his testimony that over the centuries God is with the people, blessing them with love and forgiveness and abundance. God’s blessing stretches from the crops that grow on the land, to the saving power to all nations, and leading the people from slavery into the Promise Land.
In John 14, Jesus is reminding the disciples about the importance of living one another. Jesus, through the message to the disciples, tells us that until God is here in all his fullness, we will be blessed by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will guide us in prayer, bring gifts of faith and forgiveness, lift us and carry us through trails and suffering of life and empower us to speak the good news of Jesus.
In Revelation John has a vision of a new Jerusalem coming out of heaven to provide continuity with God’s past actions. In this new Jerusalem there is no need for a temple since God is present. There are no more hurts and pains.
God is with us is the promise of the scriptures, the testimony of the prophets, the words of Jesus and Paul and John, all testify that god is with us in the past, today and forever. God renews our faith; brings us peace, hope, and love; reaches out to help with the hurting; and in the water and bread and wine.
The promise of our faith is that one day we will be with God forever because of what happened on Calvary. The hope of our faith is that until that day God’s spirit with guide and direct us. The blessing of our faith is that God will walk with us through the journeys of life.
Visitors are welcomed to come worship at Good Shepherd Lutheran at the 8:30 a.m. Contemporary Service, the 9:45 a.m. adult and children Sunday School, and at 10:45 a.m. for the Traditional Service.