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WELCOME TO CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH – “This is the day the Lord has made”. We join the Psalmist in acknowledging the goodness of our Lord our God, as we not only see His goodness in the beauty of His creation, but even more than that, we know of His goodness in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for joining us as we receive His forgiveness and peace during this hour of worship.

AS WE GATHER: God takes us as we are; He forgives us, makes us His own, and uses us to care, to witness, and to bless. Our Lord called Paul from persecution to mission, and He called Peter from denial to proclamation, and He calls each of us to be His disciples and follow him.

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To Whom Do You Belong?

April 2024

“Or do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God.”

1st Corinthians 6:19-20

        When my family moved to New York almost 22 years ago, we began the task of trying to find a home to purchase in  our near future.  The most annoying part, if you want to use that term, was not working with financing, dealing with insurance, or getting an engineer to look at the house - it was getting the Title Search completed. 

	Before you can by or sell your house, and before anyone else will feel comfortable putting down the money to buy it, you have to prove that you really own it.  And so, a Title company looks through the public records to make sure that you bought it from the person who legally owned it, who bought it from the person who really owned it before that, all the way back to the earliest records of your state.  This includes the time when your state was only a territory or colony of England. (yes, some states can go that far back)

	Go to a school  during recess,  and you’ll see a simplified version of this. A child starts playing with a ball, but another child says, “That’s mine: I had it first.”

	You can’t understand the Seventh Commandment without understanding this concept of ownership or title.  As the Small Catechism puts it:  “You shall not steal.”  What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

	Your neighbor’s possessions are theirs: you don’t have a right to take them, or their money, no matter how much they may have. And likewise, your possessions are yours.  Ownership and property rights are foundational to any functioning society.  It is also “coveting” when you want what belongs to someone else.

	But there is something deeper to know about ownership, and that is the question of “who has the title and ownership to you?”  Paul says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

	Since we all belong to our creator and Lord,  of course, everything that you own, you really only possess by God’s decision to allow you to have it: all of it belongs to Him since you belong to Him. For you were bought with the blood of Christ.

	This teaching is the foundation of all good Christian stewardship. It all belongs to God.  All that we have should  be used for things that bring honor to His name, blessings to our neighbors, and the extension of His kingdom.

	Whose is it?  It is ours to use, and care for, while we are living here.  After all, it is all given to us by God’s gracious hand.