What's Your Operating System?
This sermon is for you Michael. The other's can listen in, but this one is for you. After 3 years of instruction in the catechism, 2 of which were one on one, I told you in the last class there would never be another time when it would just be me and you. I decided there would be one more time. So on this last occasion I ask you this: what's you're OS? For those listening in what's you're operating system? In the realm of PC's, Mac's, and technology you know way more than I do, but I know enough to say every electronic device has an OS. So do human beings. What's yours?
Our default system is self. That's not the factory installed one. Better to
say self is not the operating system our Creator originally installed. But me, myself, and I is the operating system we were born with. We inherited it from mom and dad, but it was passed down generation to generation all the way from fallen Adam. You know how it is with electronic devices. They are always asking "Do you want to return to default settings?" The Devil, the World, and your own Flesh constantly ask that question too. At every point where the question is of right or wrong, moral or immoral, hope or fear, worry or trust, lust or love the screen comes up, "Return to default settings?" and there is a box to check. Check it, hit return and you're back outside the garden, separated from God.
Our default settings are fallen. Our default operating system really is O.S.: Original Sin. Remember how I was a stickler at this point? I wouldn't just let you say, "Original Sin was the corruption of our human nature." You had to say, "Total corruption of our human nature." It's not just that it's fallen and it can't get up. It's so far fallen; it doesn't even know it. Our default settings aren't fear, love, and trust in God. Our default settings are to fear losing self, to trust only what self sees, to love self above all else.
And we're happy with those settings. All people are unless God enters the picture with His law. You will go on to high school, college, and more, and the farther you get from your parent's home, the more diverse people you're going to meet. And many of these will be happy, content, successful, and nice but all they will have is the operating system they were born with, original sin. But they're content with that. Cain was, Laban was, Saul was, Ahab was, Jezebel was, and Judas was. And you'll be tempted to be.
How come? You know after you've made changes to how a device works and it doesn't work out? You click "restore factory settings" or "return to default settings" and it's a miracle. It works again. You probably won't know why well you maybe would I wouldn't, but it feels good, right, the way it should be. Your machine is running again according to how the operating system was meant to. But this OS is corrupted. It may work for a time but not for all time. You've seen the Blue Screen of Death and know that your Operating System is fried.
At this point you're not happy with your OS. At this point your where your confirmation verse is: With the Psalmist you know that because of your fallen, sinful nature God should reject your prayer; God should withhold His love from you. You're not happy with the operating system you were born with, but you're helpless to change it. All God's Law can do for your sinfulness is what I could do for your technology. I can tell you it's broken. I can show you it needs fixing, but I can't fix it.
You Michael need to be returned to the factory, but you can't get there. You can't even "decide" on your own to go. Remember the 3 Wizard of Oz points I hammered in? We're blind, dead, enemies of God who can't even see the factory, are powerless to get there, and hostile to the only One who can fix us. So God came to us.
God sent a new Operating System into the world. This new OS had to be compatible with us. You know how that is Michael. Your device says. "This platform is not compatible." When I found out that I couldn't upgrade from Vista to Window's 10 the computer techie looked at me with the "what rock have you been living under for the last 10 years look." God's new OS for humanity had to be compatible with flesh and blood. So God sent His eternal Son into the womb of the Virgin Mary to take on our operating system, to take on our flesh and blood. This was so complete, so compatible that Scripture says He was born under laws meant only for humanity not deity.
There was one big difference. Jesus was born without a corrupted operating system. He had the same OS as we did but His files were not corrupt. I know you know how a computer virus can spread from device to device sometimes hidden in the background. Everyone from the seed of man has that virus. Jesus was the Seed of woman, and He didn't have it. Michael, the fallen things that are second nature to us aren't to Jesus. He always wanted to go to Church, always gladly heard and studied God's Word, never disobeyed His parents. Never lied, never cheated, never stole, never said a bad word or had so much as a bad thought.
I know you've had this experience. You get a new Operating System or a new computer, and you can't believe how fast it is. You thought your old one was just fine. In fact, you were completely satisfied with it until you were on the new device. Follow Jesus in the Scripture. Walk a few megabytes in His shoes. See what it means to always love, always hope, always believe. See how life is without this secret fear that something is wrong or that everything is. See what it means to be perfect.
That's Jesus. The perfect Son of Man and of God. Remember how God the Father joyfully shouted from heaven, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased?" Remember how the thief on the cross declared of Jesus, "This Man has done nothing out of place?" Remember how the people He healed, taught, fed, and helped loved Him? He had a perfect operating system! There was not one thing wrong with Him, but He was deleted.
Computer analogies breakdown at this point Michael. You can say Jesus was reformatted; His OS removed; His mother board pulled out, but that doesn't quite do it. Putting it in terms of your Confirmation verse is clearer. In order to redeem us from an operating system that had us sold to sin, to death, and to the power of the Devil, God rejected His prayer and withheld His love from Him.
That's what sinners like us deserve. We deserve to have the cup of God's Wrath handed to us, and to drink down every last drop. That doesn't happen to us because the Father handed the cup to the Son to drank it even though He prayed that He not have to. We deserve to be abandoned by God to our fears, our worries, our shames, our guilts, but that doesn't happen because the Father forsook the Son on the cross. Jesus cried out, "Why? Why? Why?" and there was no answer from the leaden sky. But we know why, don't we Michael? Yes, the Father rejected Jesus' prayer so He could hear ours, and withheld His love from Him in order to love us.
Jesus came into the world with a new operating system for all sinners, and by His innocent life and holy death, He won the right to give it to all. God the Father proclaimed such by raising Jesus from the dead on Easter morning. Michael, you may call this rebooting Him, but again the analogy breaks down. I'm only trying to compare how you've felt when a computer you thought broken, dead suddenly booted up again. The relief, the surprise, the joy.
The risen Jesus is the new operating system for all. He didn't rise to change your old sinful self into a new holy one. You can't do that anymore than you can turn Vista into Windows 10. Jesus came bearing a whole new man, a whole new creation. One whose prayer is never rejected. One from whom God's love will never be withheld.
So how does He install it? Not by what we're doing today. Confirmation isn't a Sacrament; it doesn't give the forgiveness of sins, the new man, the Holy Spirit or a new operating system. No, the new, holy operating system was installed in you by Baptism. You were given it as a baby. God for Jesus' sake claimed you as His own, forgave you all your sins, and rebirthed you into a world without end. Today you confess before all that you have received these gifts.
Your new OS needs to be maintained. Frankly, Michael I don't understand this in the computer world. I just know that I have maintenance tools on my computer and now and then I run them. Your parents have been your IT department until now. They brought you to the services of God's house, to Sunday School and Confirmation. They made sure Word and Sacrament were in your life for these are the only way to maintain your new OS. Each week they made sure you returned to your Baptism with the Invocation. Each week they made sure you heard the Absolution send your sins away from you, and today you are to at last partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus which is strong enough to maintain you not just till death but all the way through death. For today you eat and drink Life Everlasting Himself!
Christ maintains the spotless operating system He installed in Baptism only by the 3 Means of Grace, and the only way it is updated is by these same 3: Baptism, Absolution, Communion. Michael you have grown in the 3 years I taught you, and you're going to continue to grow, but you will never outgrow these 3. No matter what strides technology makes or what intellectual strides you do only by Word and Sacrament will your operating system not only survive but thrive.
Michael I can't exactly explain how this works, but that's what God says, so I take His word on it. Tech people are always asking and expecting me to take their word that my operating system needs something which I don't understand. I use what they say. How much more confident can you be in using what the God who has not rejected your prayer or withheld His love from you provides. Amen
Rev. Paul R. Harris
Trinity Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas
Confirmation Sunday (20160501); Psalm 66:20