Sermon for 01.30.22 Epiphany 4 “The story of two princes”

Sermon for 01.30.22 Epiphany 4
Text: Isaiah 62:1-5
Theme: The story of two princes

*In the Name of the Father…Amen. *

*Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*

*Isaiah 62:1-5 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads as

*For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will
not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her
salvation as a burning torch.*

*The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.*

*You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem
in the hand of your God.*

*You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be
termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your
land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.*

*For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice
over you.*

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

*Lord Jesus Christ, heavenly Bridegroom,*

*You came and sought us to be Your holy Bride;*

*With Your own blood You bought us,*

*And for our life You died. Amen.*


*“One, two princes kneel before you.” *

*So began a pop tune from 1993. *

*Irresistible little toe-tapper—annoyingly catchy. *

*Went number one in Iceland and got nominated for a Grammy. *

*Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? *

Kind of timeless,

remarkably relatable,

and even rather flattering.

*Martin Luther once labeled man a beast between two riders. *

*Why not envision ourselves instead as being pursued by two princes?*

*The Scriptures speak frequently of marriage.*

*The Bible likes weddings. *

*The Scriptures speak frequently of marriage. *

*Genesis gets going with: *

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit
for him” (Genesis 2:18)

and “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to
his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

*Israel’s history progresses with more unions, from patriarch Jacob and
matriarch Rachel to grandma Ruth and grandpa Boaz to King David and “the
other woman” to their son, the sage Solomon, and so, so many mates. *

*And let us not forget the Song of Solomon!*

*Then there is Hosea the prophet who is commanded by the Lord to marry
Gomer the harlot.*

*We hear about Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus in the book of Esther.*

*The Virgin Mary betrothed to noble Joseph is mentioned in the first
chapter of Matthew. *

*We hear about the first of the many signs of Jesus was done at a wedding
at Cana in Galilee “and manifested his glory” (John 2:11). *

*“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast
for his son” (Matthew 22:2) and likened to ten maidens who took their lamps
and went to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1). *

*“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and
the church” (Ephesians 5:32). *

*And “blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb”
(Revelation 19:9). *

*“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from
God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). *

*This morning, “You shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land
Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. . .
. As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over
you” (Isaiah 62:4–5). The reception hasn’t ended yet and will endure unto

*The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells a love story. Indeed, it tells the love

*2. One prince—sins like abortion—sweeps you off your feet like a smooth
suitor but doesn’t lead to marriage.*

*And one, two princes kneel before you. *

One has eyes for you.

He doesn’t so much kneel as he leans.

He struts by, he saunters up, and he leans in.

This one has charisma and chemistry.

This one has confidence.

This one makes your knees weak enough to sweep you right off your feet.

This one brings the smooth moves and the slick lines.

This one has put in the practice and put on the polish.

He sports stylish shades and the tailored suit, with his tie pulled down
and his sleeves rolled up.

He wears sparkling jewelry on his fingers and carries riches in his pockets.

*He’s gonna buy you that top-shelf drink. *

*Maybe two or three.*

*Better yet, he’ll mix you up one himself, slip in his special ingredient,
and add a little something extra. *

*And he drives you in that late-model car, making sharp turns and squealing
tires, swerving across lanes and sprinting through lights. *

*He turns heads, recognized in every city and every club. *

*All the women wink at him, and all the ladies wave at this tall, toned,
and tan one. *

*They have a history but no interest in a future.*

*This one gets around. *

*This one gets you alone, off in a corner, over at a private table, out in
some hallway, all to himself. *

*How about his place or a hotel, even the passenger seat or just a back

*This one, he specializes in no-strings-attached, all casual, with no
commitments. *

*This one, he excels in one-night stands. *

*He loves the darkness. *

*He delivers the danger. *

*You feel his heat, see his sweat, smell his scent, hear heavy breaths,
inhaling exhilaration. *

*He can’t even speak your name, doesn’t need to, doesn’t know it, doesn’t
care. *

*It’s nothing like love, just lust enough to get lost in. *

*Who needs delight when you can indulge? *

*Who needs rejoicing when you’ve got gratification?*

And when he’s had his fill of fooling around, he’ll fire up a cigarette.

He flings a couple of crumpled bills to cover your trouble and catch you a

He reaches for his shirt, not bothering to button it, chuckles and shuffles
off into the evening.

He didn’t come to take care of you, only to take advantage.

And you can’t decide whether he defiled you or you failed yourself.

You thought for a minute this might be what you wanted, but it was him who
had his way with you.

When you’ve surrendered ever being viewed as a treasure, you’ll settle for
being used as a toy.

When you lack somebody to see you as precious, you’ll let anybody treat you
as property.

*Ask around. *

Many remember his name, though few speak it for the shame that it brings.

Call him Abortion: violator of the vulnerable, liar, and life-ender.

Abortion’s a cruel suitor, an abusive on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Prince? Yes, prince of demons, prince of darkness.

Sometimes he moonlights as Physician-Assisted Suicide.

Sometimes he masquerades as Embryo Engineering, costuming himself
underneath certain vaccines or in vitro fertilization.

*But he has a hundred other aliases: *











None worse than another but none any better either.

*His given name is Sin. *

But he goes by different names:


Personal Choice



*Hell himself disguises as Death dressed up in freedom and promising heaven
to have you in bed. *

*Sinfulness doesn’t love you. *

*Abortion doesn’t love you. *

*Assisted suicide doesn’t love you. *

*Embryo experimentation doesn’t love you. *

*Look at how he leaves you, but you just can’t get yourself to quit him and
this addiction.*

*Sin—ever so pretty and popular, it doesn’t rescue humankind. *

It ruins us.

*Selfishness doesn’t create. *

It consumes.

*Death doesn’t redeem. *

It discards.

It doesn’t choose you; it uses you and then accuses you.

It doesn’t delight or rejoice in anyone; it despises and ridicules and at
last abandons all.

*3. The other prince—the Lord Jesus—delights to court you and give you his

*But one, two princes kneel before you. *

*The other has a heart for you still. *

*The other has a heart for you anyway. *

*This one doesn’t need you, yet he wants you. *

*This one has character, and this one has compassion. *

*This one has a courtship. *

*He genuinely kneels, humbles himself in servanthood, gentle but

*He bends low, not so much to sweep you off of your feet as to sit beside
you on the curb, in the gutter. *

*He comes near to take you in his arms, strengthen you to stand, and walk
with you, not to have his way with you but to walk the way alongside you. *

*He escorts you from the cheap roadhouses, any of them and all of them,
right down the middle of the city streets in full sight of the gawking
onlookers. *

*He next to you takes the blame for your indiscretions and transgressions,
the adulteries, idolatries, thieveries, and gluttonies. *

*He next to you pays the price of your jealousies, hostilities, apathies,
and blasphemies. *

*He leads you on to a castle, lifts you up to a kingdom and a mansion, yes,
a palace and a paradise, making his your own.*

*His scarred hands protect. *

*His scored shoulders provide. *

*His stricken side and stinging scalp preserve. *

*No pretty pick-up lines, but presence and promises. *

*No fancy booze, but daily bread, everything we need to support this body
and life. *

*This one doesn’t entice or seduce but embraces, absolves, accepts. *

*This one doesn’t turn away from blemishes, bruises, and broken-hearted
wounds but tends to them. *

*This one won’t leave you naked. *

*He will robe you in his majesty and cloak you beneath his favoring. *

*This one won’t flaunt his expensive apparel. *

*He’ll outfit you in attire of dignity and sanctity. *

*He pours his sweat not over you but for you, yes, sheds his blood and
spends his last breath to defend and to cleanse you from guilt. *

*He advocates for you and sacrifices for your life. *

*He has broken the bank and emptied the treasury in buying your release and
freedom from whatever lays claim to shame you.*

*This one gives you a new name. *

*He calls you by his name. *

*This one doesn’t ravage your body. *

*He asks for your hand.*

*Our Lord Delights in Humankind like a Husband Delights in His Wife.*

*This one delights in you. *

*He rejoices over you. *

*This one creates you special. *

*He redeems you precious. *

*He calls you priceless, for better and for worse, for richer and for
poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, to have and to
hold until death and beyond, tonight’s darkness and tomorrow’s daylight. *

*Yes, from this day forward and even forevermore. *

*This one doesn’t leave you in regret. *

*He leads you through his resurrection to royalty. *

*Welcome, bride of the Heir, son and daughter of the King himself! *

*Welcome to dancing and laughter, to celebrating and song, to community and
family and security and home! *

*Welcome, not returning to work but with a purpose. *

*Welcome, not back to labor but in a vocation. *

*Welcome, to maybe not always what you immediately want but ultimately to
what you need all along!*

*4. We delight in every human life the same gracious way he has embraced

*Know him as grace. *

*Call him Savior. *

*Know him as forgiveness, and call him Father. *

*Meet faithfulness and patience, and greet him as Jesus, Son of God and
Lord of all. *

*You chose sin, but God chose you. *

*Life chose you. *

*Baptism chose you. *

*Communion chose you. *

*Heaven chose you. *

*Hold him as hope and healing. *

*Kneel before him; kneel with your mind and your life, your days and your
deeds, before him. *

*Kneel beside him as prince and princess now yourself. Kneel as he does in
front of every human being, that you may receive them the way he has
embraced you, that we may receive them the way he has selected us. *


*Each one, a privilege from fertilization to forever. *

*Each one, a gift whatever age, appearance, and abilities. *

*Each one, a neighbor even in difficulties and sufferings. *

*Each one, a sister even in surprise pregnancy and a brother even in
terminal diagnosis. *

*Delight in them, no matter how many other so-called princes may pass them
by. *

*Rejoice in them, no matter how many other would-be princes push them away.*

*For you were created for this. *

*We were created for this, and in this we shall be crowned, world without
end. Amen.*

*Let us pray:*

*Jesus, You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.*

*Accept the joyful shouts of praise for Your saving work that we proclaim.*

*Rule in our lives, now and always. Amen.*

*The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*