Sunday, May 21, 2023

When You Add It All Up

 Ezekiel 36:22-28

"Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst.  Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.  For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.  And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God."

Sermon for Exaudi Sunday – The Sunday after the Ascension               5/21/23

When You Add It All Up

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Some people believe that the Old Testament is Law and the New Testament is Gospel.  That is so probably because the Old Testament contains the most concise and explicit summary of the Law, the Ten Commandments, and the New Testament reveals with such clarity and simplicity the Gospel.  But the Gospel is woven throughout the Old Testament, and the Law is clearly stated throughout the New Testament.  The first Gospel promise is in Genesis 3:15, and the Law is nowhere clearer or more demanding than in the Sermon on the Mount.  So, when you add it all up, the entire Scripture reveals both Law and Gospel.

Our text is merely seven verses long.  Nevertheless, there is clear and brutally frank Law in it, and the sweetest Gospel promises.  God speaks a harsh truth about the people of ancient Israel, and, I suspect, more than just a little truth about us.  Then He makes sweet promises to them, and to us.  He speaks about Baptism, and about conversion, and about Pentecost, and about saving us.  So, when you add it all up, God is speaking to us, through Ezekiel.  Our theme, then, is, "When You Add It All Up."
Ezekiel is clearly a profound preaching of the Law.  God says, in the entire book of Ezekiel, that He had to destroy Israel and drive His people into exile.  It was part of the covenant, a covenant which they broke egregiously.  God says, in effect, that if He had permitted them to continue without striking and punishing them, He would have become an accomplice – He would share in their sin.

Ezekiel even describes the sins in the chapters surrounding our text.  He says that the priests were bringing Idols into the house of God and sacrificing to them at the altar of God.  He accuses the shepherds of the people of fleecing the flock, eating the sheep and growing fat at their expense, without ever feeding them or caring for them or protecting them from the wolves.  These are unfaithful and uncaring religious leaders and teachers who used their positions for making a living, and took advantage of the people without serving them with the truth or protecting them from all that is false in the world's religions that surrounded them.  He said it like this, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves!  Should not the shepherds feed the flock?  You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.  Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.  And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered."

God wasn't talking about real sheep, but people.  He wasn't talking about real food, but the Word.  He wasn't talking about real wool, but the offerings of the people.  He wasn't talking about real beasts of the field as predators on His people, but false teachers, and the false religions around them.

God also charges the people themselves.  He speaks of the fat sheep and the lean.  Listen to a few verses from Ezekiel 34: "And as for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats.  Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures?  Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?  And as for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet, and they must drink what you foul with your feet!'"  Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad,  therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another."

What God is referring to is the domination of one child of God by another – the rich against the poor, the strong personalities over against the weak, the aggressive or powerful over against the timid or the mild.  They were taking advantage of one another.  They were manipulating one another.  They were getting what they wanted out of their religion, and closing the doors to others without regard for their needs.  They were taking advantage as though their religion was theirs alone, and they had no responsibility toward each other - or God.

Ezekiel tells them that because of them, the name of God is blasphemed among the heathen.  People mocked their religion and mocked their God because of the behavior of the Israelites.  "And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.".

When you add it all up, the children of Israel were acting like the heathen around them, and worse than the heathen.  Because of their behavior, their lack of religiousness, their lack of faithfulness, the name of God was profaned.  It was made into something common and dirty – like a curse word – rather than something holy and precious and to be treated with respect.  It was because of these things, basically because of the unfaithfulness and lack of sincere religion, that God destroyed Israel and drove them into exile under Nebuchadnezzar.  

I shudder to draw comparisons.  Christians are mocked and their God is ridiculed because of what Christians do and say, what they permit and what they deny.  Lutherans are the butt of jokes and Lutheranism is shamefully mocked and our faith is caricatured grotesquely because of Lutherans.  Lutherans often seem neither to trust God nor appreciate their own faith.  They too often do not live as the children of a holy God, or as those who must stand before the righteous Judge of all mankind.  They treat morality as temporary and changeable.  They often treat worship as disposable.   Far too often, they treat the treasures of the Sacraments as optional and meaningless and merely human acts with no real power or significance.  They treat each other like dirt. Lutheranism is profaned among the unbelievers because of Lutherans.

And what about Immanuel?  How are we seen in the community?  Are we viewed as the home of sound doctrine and holy people?  Is this congregation seen as the place to go – or the place to flee from?  I am not talking about how you look at Immanuel, but what you communicate to your friends and neighbors.  How does the community see us?  Are we the home of God's holy people who live in Christian love with one another, or is the name of God profaned because of us?  What they see is what you show them and tell them – not what you see.  When you add it all up, our faith and our faithfulness is what people see and hear.  How they evaluate Immanuel, and Lutherans, and sometimes Christians as a whole depends entirely on what you show them and tell them.

In our text, God says that He will prove Himself holy by how He will deal with His people.  Ezekiel writes, "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.  And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God."

What He is talking about there is the Gospel.  He gathers His people, cleanses them with water, creates a new heart within them, pours out His Spirit upon them, and gives them a land to live in.  That is the Gospel.  The gathering of His people is the Church.  The sprinkling with clean water is Baptism.  The cleansing from all our filthiness is the forgiveness of sins purchased on the cross at the price of the pains and suffering and death of the very Son of God.  It is our sins that are our idols – the idols mentioned by Ezekiel above – or we make idols of ourselves.  When God calls us by the Gospel and enlightens us with His gifts and makes us His people, that is when He gives us the new heart, taking our stony and sinful hearts and giving us the hearts of tender flesh, hearts that can love, and forgive, one another.  He pours out His Spirit through Word and Sacrament, and teaches us to love Him and do His Will by forgiveness and grace.

When you add it all up, what God would have us known for is not our quarrels, or our friendliness, but for His grace and love in Jesus Christ.  God made His name holy among the nations by the rescue and salvation of His people Israel.  What God would have us known for is Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for us, and that we have been redeemed and made holy by His blood and by His love.  God would make His name holy among us and the people we live in the midst of by Baptism, and by our cheerful and willing witness to His goodness grace and love in Jesus Christ.  He would have us be known for living out the forgiveness He has won for us, and His name made holy through us -- His holiness demonstrated through our faith, our love for one another, and our faithfulness to Him.  When you add it all up, God would have us known less for what we do, and more for what He has done for us in love.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(Let the people say Amen)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Hung with a New Rope

 Numbers 21:4-9

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey.  And the people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food."

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.  So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us."  And Moses interceded for the people.  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live."  And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

Sermon for Rogate Sunday                                              5/14/23

Hung with a New Rope

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

There is an expression used to describe a person who is never satisfied.  They say that "he would complain if he were hung with a new rope."  The person or persons characterized by this half-humorous expression would be the sort that is always complaining, usually loudly proclaiming their dissatisfaction to everyone within earshot. That is, they would be the sort of people described in our text.  The Children of Israel were the sort of people who could complain under any circumstances.  They might well be described as the sort who would complain if they were hung with a new rope.  This morning, we are going to take a closer look at the account of the fiery serpents in our Old Testament lesson with the theme, Hung with a New Rope.

If there were an Olympic event in grumbling, the Children of Israel would have won gold every time.  Here they were, a people who had been pressed into slavery and cruelly treated for generations, and God had brought them out with tremendous miracles and signs and wonders!  God led them out, wealthy with the spoil of Egypt.  He opened the Red Sea before them, and drowned their enemies behind them.  He personally guided them with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  They never had to sleep in the darkness – they always had a night light, even out in the wilderness.  God fed them each day with the miracle of Manna, and made water fountain our of rocks in the desert to give them something to drink.  God made sure nothing ever wore out, so they had no needs like those of the nations around them.

They should have been content.  They should have been downright giddy with happiness; freedom, riches, food without labor, security.  But here they are, in our text, complaining bitterly.  Their complaints don't even make sense.  They complain they have no food, and yet they also gripe about having to eat Manna.  "We loathe this miserable food."  Manna was a pleasant tasting, slightly sweet food, one that could apparently be made into bread or just eaten the way it was.  But, familiarity breeds contempt, and, after all, these were people who would complain if they were hung with a new rope.

Not like us.  You would never catch any one of us complaining!  No sir!  We live in the richest nation on earth.  We are the people who consume the majority of the resources consumed each year, even though we are a small fraction of the world's population.  We have abundant food, and it is clean and safe.  We have a health system that is the envy of the entire world.  People flock to our country to get our health care – if they can afford it.  And if you cannot afford it, our hospitals are required by law to serve you anyhow.  We have the safest nation.  The only thing we have to fear is one another – our enemies cannot generally hurt us, and when they do, like September 11th , we pound the daylights out of them.

We never complain, right??  No one gripes about gas prices.  No one complains about their doctor.  No one grumbles about how the vast selections in our local grocery stores aren't quite as fresh or pretty or broad as they were "back in the day." No one ever hears any of us complaining, right?  We often don't realize just how good we have it, particularly when we complain.  We must seem to others to be the sort that would complain even if we were hung with a new rope!

How did God respond to the Children of Israel and their grumbling?  In this case, He sent what the Bible describes as "fiery serpents."  They may have been reddish or orange, or perhaps it burned when they bit.  We don't know why they called them "fiery", but we do know that the bite was fatal – swiftly fatal, although not instantly fatal.  It was almost as if God had said, "If you want something to complain about, I'll give you something."  Our text says that many people of Israel died.

Then God did something unique.  When Moses interceded for the people, bringing their confession of sin to God in prayer (which was how God wanted them to do it back then), God told Moses to "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live."  So Moses made a serpent of bronze that looked like the ones troubling Israel, and He put it on a tall pole – that is what the word "standard" means in the text, "and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived."

What is so wonderful about this is that it is salvation by faith, pictured for us by the Children of Israel.  You have to expect that there were those among them who said, or at least thought, that it was stupid to expect that just looking at the serpent on the pole would heal them.  They were probably sure that nothing so simple would end the pain and stop the poison.  Those who thought that way were what we would now call "casualties".  They died.

But anyone who took God at His Word and looked at the serpent lived.  All it took was trusting the Word of God enough to do what God had commanded.  I image that there may have even been those who didn't actually trust God, but did what was commanded "just in case", and they lived, too, and learned to trust the promises of God even when they don't make good, rational sense.
Even more, think about this: there was a serpent on a pole – like the serpent of old from the garden of Eden, nailed to the cross.

But Jesus was nailed to the cross, you say.  That is true.  Jesus "became sin for us, He who knew no sin of His own, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  Jesus became sin!  He was all that evil through all our generations – not personally, but He took it on Himself and carried it to the cross and nailed it there in His own body for us.  It was on the cross that Jesus crushed the head of that Ancient Serpent.  So, it was every bit as though the Serpent hung on the cross, just as the fiery serpents were hung on the pole, the standard, which Moses raised.  And just as those who took God at His Word and trusted His promise – and so looked at the serpent – received the salvation they desired and lived, even so, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

When anyone looks at the cross of Jesus, trusting in what God has spoken, and all that God has promised on account of Jesus and His death and His Resurrection, that person is healed from the poison of sin, forgiven and restored, and given the power to live a holy life both here in time and there in eternity.  Those who cannot or will not believe, are poisoned and die that death we call "hell."  It doesn't matter if they don't trust God, or can't believe it is something so simple, or don't want to have it given to them, but want to do something so they can hang their confidence on what they have done.  If they do not believe, they die eternally.  The other half of the verse above is, "and he that does not believe, shall be damned."

The problem of the Children of Israel was sin.  Their wicked hearts led them to grumble, even in the face of the wonderful deeds and gifts of God.  Death is the wages of sin.  When they realized their sin, they confessed it, and they repented, and they asked for forgiveness.  The pole of the serpent was their absolution.  They heard, they looked, and they lived.

The problem when we grumble is the same problem – wicked hearts and sin.  The wages of sin is death, still today.  The solution is the same for us as it was for them.  We need to see our sin – all of our grumbling against the goodness of God and what He has chosen for us as our path as his children.  Our sin is bigger and deeper than grumbling, of course, but let's just focus on that.  Our grumbling comes out of our flesh – the part of us that does not know God, the part that was not put to death and raised to new life in our Baptism.

We need to confess our sin – be honest enough to admit it, and that it is sin, to ourselves, and then confess it to God.  Then we need to repent, turn away from the sin, and turn to God for forgiveness.  And then we need to hear our absolution: your sins are forgiven.  Jesus paid the price already and clothes you with His own righteousness.  We look to the cross, and the empty tomb of Easter, and we see and hear our forgiveness.

And we are healed.  Because your sins have been forgiven, your death has been turned into the door of life everlasting!  You will not die, even though your body will, and your body shall one day rise from the grave to everlasting life, body and soul reunited, with all the holy people who have trusted God and believed His promises.  The poison of the serpent cannot destroy us as long as we look to the cross.

Then, we can live out our salvation right here and now.  We can do that by resisting the temptation to grumble, but give thanks to God instead.  We should give thanks as openly and often as we have been tempted to grumble and complain against God and His gifts.  We should give thanks because God is good, and we owe Him great thanksgivings.  We should give thanks because we are always under His loving care.  We should give thanks because we have so much to give thanks for – and because we do not want to look like people who would complain if they were hung with a new rope.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(Let the people say Amen)

Sunday, May 07, 2023

This Day Is That Day

 Isaiah 12:1-6

Then you will say on that day, "I will give thanks to Thee, O LORD; for although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou dost comfort me.

"Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation."

Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.  And in that day you will say, "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.  Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted."

Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth.  Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sermon for Cantate Sunday                                              5/07/23

This Day Is That Day

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

"One of these days . . ." Ralph Cramden always said, "One of these days, Bang!  Zoom!"  His wife, Alice, would always ask, "Yeah.  What day is that, Ralph?"  He was speaking about a day that he never intended to be real.  Many people think the Bible speaks just like that.  But the Bible is the Word of God, and God is announcing plans, not making idle threats.  The day our text speaks of is no threat, in fact, but a wonderful promise.  In our text, Isaiah speaks of a day that was to come, a day of singing and praise and thanksgiving.  This morning we want to briefly look at that day and our theme and message is, "This Day Is That Day."

The first thing we notice is "that day" is a day of forgiveness.  Isaiah says it like this, "I will give thanks to Thee, 0 LORD; For although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away1 And Thou dost comfort me."  To understand that day and the forgiveness of that day, we must come face to face with sin.

God is justly angry toward us over our sins.  We do not want to face the truth, most of the time, but we sin.  And sin is not a minor thing, it is the rebellion against God that earns us His wrath and our own death.  We turn away from He who is Life for a few moments of pleasure, or power, or, like Judas, some sell Jesus for a few pieces of silver.  Your hatreds, your bitterness, your gossip, your grumbling – are not small peccadilloes, they are sins.  They deny God, they accuse Him of being unfair and unfaithful.  In our sins, we choose death and self over God and life.

We deserve death, but we are given life and salvation, because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.  We merited the wrath of God, so it was poured out on Him.  We earned death and hell, so Jesus went to the cross and faced both as He hung alone, forsaken by God and mocked by man.  We chose death in sin, so He chose to die in righteousness, that we might live in Him.

Today, God is comforting us with the news of forgiveness.  His anger is turned away, toward the cross, and He comforts us with the sweet proclamation of forgiveness and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Jesus rose because God has accepted His death for ours, and now God reckons us holy with the righteousness of Christ, by which He earned life eternal, and so we also have life everlasting.

That day is a day of salvation.  Isaiah said it this way, ""Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."  Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation."

That day is a day of forgiveness, and so it is also a day of salvation, for the forgiveness of sins means, as Luther says in the Catechism, life and salvation.  Sin is what stands between God and man, and Jesus has taken it out of the way.  If He had been a mere man or some angel who had won our salvation, it would be uncertain, but it is God Himself who has purchased and won us from all sin, from death9 and from the power of the devil.  There can be no doubt, no uncertainty - for God Himself is our Savior.  To deny us, He would have to deny Himself, and He cannot deny Himself.

Believing in that forgiveness opens the door to trusting God.  How can we doubt God when He gave all that He gave for us?  How can we question His will for us - or His love for us - when we see how great a price He paid for us?  The cause of our anger toward God and His toward us has been taken out of the way.  We no longer have any reason to be frightened of Him.  We know that He loves us, and so we know that we can trust Him.

Therefore, forgiveness, received by faith, ends fear.  It ends fear of God -- at least it ends the terror of the notion that He desires to cause us pain and trouble.  It also has the power to end the  fear of trouble in this life, because we know that we have the love of God.  Isaiah said it like this, I will trust, and not be afraid.  God is on our side, so to speak.  He desires only our good.  His love is demonstrated in Jesus – and it is seen in the abundance of blessings which He pours out on us day by day.

As you may have realized, this day is that day.  The day of our forgiveness and the day of the love of God is today.  Today is the day that we can joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.  The waters of salvation are the waters of Baptism.  In our Baptism, God claimed us by name to be His own.  In our Baptism, He joined us to Christ, to resurrection from the grave, and to eternal life.  He regularly refreshes us in that salvation through the marvelous gift of the Sacrament of the Altar, by giving us His very body to eat in, with and under the bread of the Sacrament, and by giving us to drink of His blood, once shed for us on the cross, in, with and under the wine.

Today we owe God thanks, and offer thanks to God, as Isaiah prophesied, I will give thanks to Thee, 0 Lord, and, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name.  But these are thanks we can give only if we see clearly the danger from which He has rescued us.  We give these thanks here, in our worship service, and day to day in our prayers and in lives lived deliberately as His holy people.

This day is the day we are to "cry aloud and shout for joy."  That is what we do in our hymns and liturgy.  That is also what we do in our prayers to a lesser extent.  Here, in worship, we formally cry aloud and shout for joy.  Day by day, you also cry aloud and shout for joy as you remember His blessings and speak aloud about His goodness to you.  Heaven knows that we grumble and complain aloud when we are not pleased with the circumstances of our life.  Shouldn't we also be vocal and earnest also about the good things – the sunshine and the rain, the health we have and the blessings we receive, and the on-going grace of the Lord?

This day is also the day that we are to make them remember His name.  The whole world once knew His name.  They all once knew that He was God and the Giver of all things good.  But the world has forgotten, deliberately.  Our lives and our thanksgivings and our public worship are to make them remember.  If we who believe do not speak His praises and give Him the glory for our blessings and our lives, how will they hear?  How will they remember?

We have very little difficulty complaining.  We can complain about our aches and pains, often without remembering that the days when everything  doesn't hurt are a gift from God.  We can complain about the cost of things, without recalling how God has given us so much that we can afford luxuries that were unimaginable a generation ago.  We can find the wind to complain about our congregation, or our pastor, or our church, without remembering to rejoice and give thanks that we have the Word of God and the riches of the Gospel.

We have the clear and constant preaching of our forgiveness, of Law and Gospel, for we know that we must also remember our sins to know the value of our forgiveness.  We have the Lord's Supper to refresh us and strengthen us for life as the child of God in this world.  If we cannot speak of these blessings, if we do not remind others that God is our Source and our Savior, how will they remember that His name is Exalted?  How will we remember, unless we make each other remember?

This day is that day.  Today is the day we are to "let this good news be known throughout the earth."  That is why God leaves us here, alive, to hold out the precious hope to others.  If we keep it just for ourselves, our congregation withers.  We die, not just by natural attrition, but because if we do not share the Word of our hope in Christ, we must not be thinking about it for ourselves.  It must not be in us very clearly, if it is not overflowing from us.

How could we keep this great good news to ourselves?  We have the cure for death here!  We have resurrection from the grave here!  We have eternal life here!  It is not for sale.  There is no awful price yet to be paid.  You don't have to do something great and difficult to earn it.  It is the gift of God!  Now think with me on this: If we found hamburger for 29¢ per pound, we would be telling all of our friends – after we got ours, of course.  If we found shoes – good shoes – for $5.00 a pair, we would call our neighbors, after we bought the styles we wanted, of course.  If we had access to interest free loans for cars or homes, we would tell everyone, as soon as we got ours.

Well, we have the answer to death.  We have the assurance of the love of God in life.  We have all the help and power we need.  We have the certainty of rising from our graves in better condition than we entered them.  We have the clear and utterly reliable promise of everlasting life beyond all the pains and sorrows and sicknesses of this life.  We have all of that in Jesus – and strength for the day, and help in time of need, and peace in times of turmoil, and more – if we trust God.  If we believe the Gospel.  We have all that because, as Isaiah put it, "Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."

This Day is That Day.  Today is the day Isaiah prophesied.  On that day,  He said.  Well, this day is that day.  We have been rescued, and God is our salvation.  He was angry, but now His anger is turned away.  Now is the time to sing, and give thanks, and tell others about God s goodness and love.  If we don t, who will?  This day is "that day"  of the prophecy of Isaiah.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(Let the people say Amen)