First Lutheran Church Plainville, Kansas
Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
Leviticus 13:47-59 and 14:33-57 deal with what most of us would not consider a major issue, at least not when it comes to our faith.
Leviticus 13 deals with the diagnosis of leprosy, and Leviticus 14 deals with being declared clean of leprosy. But the end of 13 deals with one’s clothing, and the end of 14 deals with one’s home.
It sounds absurd to our modern ears that clothing and houses should prevent one from full participation in the worshiping community; and yet, for one’s clothes or home to be infected with a mold was a serious issue; and being unclean put one in jeopardy of not being presentable to God.
Are your clothes clean? What is the condition of your home? What would you think if I came to your home and declared that based on your choice of furniture your salvation was in peril; or that your clothing made you unfit to receive the Lord’s Supper?
Now to be honest, even in Leviticus, what matters most is not the mold in your house, or the fungus in your clothes, but what was in your heart. And the same is true today, the Lord examines the thoughts and meditations of your heart, before He examines your outer appearances. In the Gospels, Jesus enters the houses of Levi and Zacchaeus and many others who were declared unclean by the Law, and He not only eats with them, but He embraces them, because in their hearts was saving faith, something which was decidedly absent from the hearts of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
But let us consider this idea of homes and clothing further. The clothes you wear and the house that you live in are a reflection of what is on your heart. If the meditations of your heart are on pornography and violence and greed; chances are good that your clothing will reflect such thoughts. And it would be a pretty good guess that if your house is absent a cross or a Bible, visible where your guests can see them, your heart may not focus on them very often either.
To sing the offertory Create in me a clean heart O God is not just something that we do after the sermon in LSB Setting 3; it is a prayer that our hearts and our lives would be God pleasing. To pray Come Lord Jesus, be our guest before meals, is to ask Jesus to come into your presence and dwell among you.
Even in your clothing, even in the decorum of your home, your faith is on display. To dress in a provocative manner when going to the store, is to say that perhaps your baptism is not the first thing that you think of in the morning. To live in a home absent any visible reminders of God’s presence, indicates that you may not make room for His presence in your life either
Our moderns ears recoil at the sound of this; we tend to think of faith being separate from our choice of clothing and our home decorations; we immediately scream that it is what is on the heart that matters.
This is most certainly true; but what is on your heart if your t-shirt screams rebellion against authority, and your Bible, hymnal and catechism are in a box in the basement?
Historically, Epiphany has been a time for house blessings; closely associated with the Wise Men coming to the house where the toddler Jesus dwelt. The Pastor would come and pray with the family that God would bless the home in the coming year. Epiphany serves as a reminder that the home is where worship occurs outside of Sunday morning in prayer and daily devotions. May your home be a blessing to your faith, not a hindrance.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt