Blog / Book of the Month / “The LORD Will Take Me In” Mount Olive Lutheran Church Season of Easter Sunday Sermon May 11th 2024 – Psalm 27:10

“The LORD Will Take Me In” Mount Olive Lutheran Church Season of Easter Sunday Sermon May 11th 2024 – Psalm 27:10

“The LORD Will Take Me In” Mount Olive Lutheran Church Season of Easter Sunday Sermon May 11th 2024 – Psalm 27:10

Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday May 11th 2024: Season of Easter / the Introit Psalm 27:1a, 4-5, 10, 14, “The LORD Will Take Me In”

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?


One thing have I asked of the LORD,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD

and to inquire in His temple.

For He will hide me in His shelter

in the day of trouble;

He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;

He will lift me high upon a rock.


For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

but the LORD will take me in.


Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the LORD!

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.

Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. “Earthly parents sometimes abandon their children (though it shocks us when they do), but the heavenly Father never forsakes His children.”[1] The Prophet Isaiah provides us with these words from the Lord: first a question then an answer;

1) The question, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?”

2) Then the answer from the Lord, “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold,” says the Lord, “I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”[2]

In our introit today King David in Psalm 27 exclaims, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” The words of this Psalm were recorded hundreds of years before the promise given by the Lord in those words from Isaiah where the Lord says He has “engraved” you on the palms of His hands and in Christ Jesus we see the further and final fulfilment of both these promises a) that the Lord will take you in b) and that He has engraved you into the palms of His hands: more on this later.   

Today, for us, North Americans are remembering mothers as we celebrate Mother’s Day and yet Holy Scripture is, as is regularly the case, more honest about the complexity of life than the sentiments found in hallmark greeting cards. And when it comes to the faith of our mothers, when we have a look around, there are both good examples and bad examples, sometimes even in our own family. When the example is good, when it’s a loving faith, when it’s a fount of our childhood trust and grace in Christ Jesus then Scripture encourages us to praise and hold up such examples, to even “imitate their faith,”[3]  yet Scripture also councils us saying, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.”[4] So when a mother is not good, when her faith is set on things other than Christ Jesus then we have to come to terms with what that means in our lives and ask ourselves how we are to “honour our mother”[5] in such circumstances.

On the one hand your mother or grandmother may have been a paragon of the Christian faith, a real pillar of Christian faithfulness, like we hear about regarding Saint Timothy’s mother from Saint Paul when Paul writes Timothy saying, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice [which] now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”[6] Or on the other hand you could have a mother or grandmother who has walked away from the Christian faith, and in that way has forsaken you as a Christian, or perhaps she was never a Christian and her faith has been placed in something other than Christ Jesus as He’s presented to us in Holy Scripture. These are hard situations to be sure and can create much worry in our lives.

We find an example of a negative faithless mother in the account of the death of John the Baptiser from Saint Matthew’s Gospel where Matthew tells us about Herodias: “At that time Herod the tetrarch ... had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her [as your wife].” And though [Herod] wanted to put [John the Baptiser] to death, he feared the people, because they held [John] to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptiser here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and [John’s] head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.”[7] Take from this what we all know, mothers have a lot of influence on their children, but the question is what kind of influence. If your mother is not encouraging you in your Christian faith, if she herself is living a life contrary to the Christian faith what are you to do? Well you don’t follow her example. You don’t imitate her “faith” in none Christian things, and as painful as it sounds this is when you need most to hold fast to what King David says ‘even if his mother has forsaken him, he must trust that the LORD will take him in.’ He will not be left an orphan and neither will you.

If a mother encourages you to do something against God’s word, jeopardising your well being or the wellbeing of others, jeopardising your faith or the faith of others, do not do it. Don’t serve up sin to her on a platter just because she prompts you to do it. Herodias’ daughter was not honouring her mother by being a party to John the Baptiser’s murder. In the Fourth Commandment we confess that “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honour them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”[8] Yes it would have angered Herodias if her daughter had not danced for her husband Herod, if she disobeyed her mother’s request for John the Baptiser’s head on a platter as a morbid and spiteful “gift.” Keep in mind Herodias’ daughter would not have been despising her mother in the eyes of the Lord if she had wanted her mother to do the right thing, if she recognised that her mother’s marriage to Herod was against God’s law and the Lord’s designs for marriage. For us today we need to remember that a faithful Christian daughter ought to steadfastly be seeking her mother’s return to the Christian faith. This loving work needs to be persistent, consistent, unwaveringly carried out with conviction. The same would go if the situation was the other way around, if it was the mother who was faithful and it was the daughter who was on the wrong track in life. When things have gone this way then the focus of your life will be to encourage her back into the faith, and if she has never been a Christian to pray for her and speak the word of God to her that she may be saved by the workings of the Holy Spirit. 

For mothers, and fathers, remember ‘if you let the World teach your children it will teach them what the World teaches,’ therefore continue steadfastly teaching the Christian faith. To the best of your ability model your Christian life of faith to be of finer and nobler quality than what the World will give your children. Take accounts from Scripture like the one of Herodias as an example of what not to do and then search God’s Word for examples like Saint Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.

If you want to look to the best example of a father son relationship in Scripture look to Jesus and His heavenly Father. The Gospel of John, in particular, is filled with examples of this. And if you want to look to the best example of a mother and her child then look to Jesus and His mother the Virgin Mary. Set aside the strange conclusions that the Roman Catholic Church has arrived at when it comes to the Virgin Mary’s life in Christ following her death.[9] This is not a sermon about praying for Mary or asking Jesus’ mother to put in a good word for us; these ideas are beyond what Scripture teaches. Rather look to her example of faithfulness when she is given the great, and in her case the truly unexpected, treasure of motherhood. She famously exclaimed in her song of praise which we call ‘The Magnificat,’

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

        and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

        for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.

                For behold, from now on all generations

will call me blessed;

        for He who is mighty has done great things for me,

                and holy is His name.

        And His mercy is for those who fear Him

                from generation to generation.

        He has shown strength with His arm;

                He has scattered the proud

in the thoughts of their hearts;

        He has brought down the mighty from their thrones

                and exalted those of humble estate;

        He has filled the hungry with good things,

                and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,

                in remembrance of His mercy,

        as He spoke to our fathers,

                to Abraham and to His offspring forever.”[10]

Notice Mary knows the Old Testament Scriptures, she sings of Abraham and Jacob named Israel, she recognises by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the fulfilment of the promises of God in the Child she carries in her womb. And when Jesus is born and all the miraculous events around His birth had unfolded Saint Luke tells us that she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”[11] She ensured that Jesus was circumcised according to the Law of Moses[12] that all things were taken care of for her Son.

Years later when they were up in Jerusalem for the Passover and they had left Jesus behind supposing Him to be among relatives traveling back to Nazareth Saint Luke tells us how after three days of searching “they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard [the young Jesus] were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”[13] We can count this as evidence that Mary and her husband Joseph—the Boy’s guardian—had prioritised instruction in the Word of the Lord in their home just as is prescribed in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy chapter six, where Moses says, “You shall teach [the commandment and statutes and rules of the Lord] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”[14]

Then later again, when He was a grown man and no longer a child,  Mary was there at Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee and Saint John tells us that “when the wine ran out [at the reception it was she], the mother of Jesus [who was the one who] said to Him, “They have no wine.” [Saint John then tells us that] Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” [At this point Jesus had performed no miracles publicly, yet in faith] His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”[15] She had faith that her Son could solve their dilemma.

And when Jesus’ time had come and He was nailed to the cross at His crucifixion Mary was at the foot of that cross with Saint John and knowing that death was coming Jesus arranged for His mother’s continued wellbeing. Saint John tells us how “when Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”[16] And if you were listening carefully in our first reading today you will have noticed that in the days following her Son Jesus’ Easter resurrection she was still with His disciples and faithful followers. Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles says that following Jesus’ ascension to His Father’s right hand, and they had returned to Jerusalem to the upper room, where they were staying, along with Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James the women and the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers were together with the disciples and all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer. From trusting that the promised Saviour would one day come, through His conception by the Holy Spirit, through her pregnancy, through His birth, through having to escape to Egypt with Joseph her husband and the Boy’s guardian,[17] through His life and public ministry, through His cross and passion through His resurrection and ascension, through to the last day of her life she, by the grace of God she remained faithful.

Mothers, it is true that Mary is a hard act to follow, but be careful, she’s intended as an encouragement; if in your heart you’re thinking ‘while I’m not living up to her example but at least I’m not like Herodias with John the Baptiser’s head on a platter’ I say to you be careful, remember your catechism. In the section set aside to study and learn what Confession of Sins is and how it is to operate in our Christian life we are admonished to “consider [our] place in life according to the Ten Commandments:” We are asked, “Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, or worker? Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you been hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome? Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds? Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?”[18] Fathers don’t ask if they have been good mothers to their children and mothers don’t ask if they’ve been good fathers to their children. While examples we have been given in life and in Scripture are all useful for us and may in fact be worthy of imitating where they are good examples, ultimately we aren’t called to compare ourselves against each other but rather against the Law of God found in the Ten Commandments according to our vocations in life. And when we do this we are to remember that where we fail at being the perfect parent God the Father has not failed, and where we have failed to be the perfect child God the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, has not failed.[19] He has fulfilled the Law: in Him we have our forgiveness because He has, by His nail wounds from His crucifixion and death, engraved us on the palms of His hands. This means that even if your earthly father and mother have forsaken you, you can trust what David says in Psalm 27, “the LORD will take me in,” Yes the LORD has taken you into His family, in Christ Jesus, His Son.

There is clearly more that can be said about this, like how the Church as the bride of Christ is to us a Mother in a World that would have us be an orphan from God, and how Baptism makes us a part of the family of God as adopted children, but this is more than enough for this day. I leave you with one last encouragement: parents if your children are away from their faith and away from life in the Church do not lose hope in them, entrust them daily into the hands of the Lord and look for every opportunity to share Jesus with them. And children if your parents are away from their faith and away from life in the Church do not lose hope in them, entrust them daily into the hands of the Lord and look for every opportunity to share Jesus with them; trustingly, along with David in our introit, pray, “Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!”[20] Dear ones the Lord is faithful. Amen.     

Let us pray: Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] John F. Burg, A Commentary on Psalms 1-72, Northwestern Publishing House 2004, Page 322.
[2] Isaiah 49:15–16a
[3] Hebrews 13:7
[4] 3 John 11a
[5] Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16
[6] 2 Timothy 1:5
[7] Matthew 14:1a, 3–11
[8] Fourth Commandment, Luther’s Small Catechism, Concordia Publishing House 2017, Page 14.
[9] In fact even in life, outside of the Wedding at Cana, we have only one example of Mary trying to pull the ‘I’m Your mother card’ with Jesus,” (Matthew 12:46–50; Luke 8:19–21) to which Jesus responds “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21).
[10] Luke 1:46–55
[11] Luke 2:19
[12] Luke 2:21
[13] Luke 2:46–47
[14] Deuteronomy 6:7
[15] John 2:3–5
[16] John 19:26–27
[17] Matthew 2: 13-15
[18] Confession, Luther’s Small Catechism, Concordia Publishing House 2017, Page 25.
[19] Luke 2:51–52
[20] Psalm 27:7

Photo Credit: Main Photo tinted and croped detail of The Virgin Mary Cradling the Baby Jesus from pxhere.