Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:1-14; Jude 1-25
”He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil” (First Article, Creed)
It was late at night. I had been on rounds, saving my hospital visits for the end of the day. As I was getting into my car, my cell phone rang. The voice on the other end was frantic, “Pastor, can you please come see us?” Something wasn't right. I could hear it in his voice. “Sure, I'll come see you. What's wrong?” “My wife and I just received some terrible news.” “Where are you?” “We're at the hospital.” Of course, in a city like New Orleans, that could mean any number of hospitals. “Which hospital?” “East Jefferson General.” I couldn't believe my ears! I was still standing in the parking garage at East Jefferson General. “I'll be right there. Please, tell me, what news did the doctors give you?” It was terrible: They had just told his wife that she should get her affairs in order. She had cancer. It was too late. The cancer had spread like wildfire. There wasn't much they could do.
At first, I reached into my car and grabbed my Bible and communion kit. Then, it hit me. Grab the catechism, too. When I arrived at their room, I read this section from the First Article: He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.
Does He? I knew that fear was racing through their souls, as it often does mine. What about those times when the doctor gives you terrible news? What about those times when, far less serious, but still so painful, you fail a test, a game, a parent, a treasured friend? What about those times when life crashes down all around you? Is God not paying attention? Does He not care? What about these words from the catechism, then?
Ah, you are forgetting what the Word says, what your Baptism and the Holy Supper promise: “All things work together” for our good (Romans 8:28). What looks like sure danger, or evil, is not. Not now, since you are safely tucked into the loving care of your Father. Not now, since you are baptized into Christ. God now trumps all these things for you. He makes them tools and instruments to accomplish for you His own good purposes. He is, after all, your Father. That's the first thing the Creed teaches you about God.It also teaches you that He's almighty, meaning that your heavenly Father can do such things, taking danger and evil, and making them work for your good. Which is why you should fear no evil (Psalm 23:4). The evil you deserve all fell upon Jesus when He bore your sins on the cross. Now, danger and evil can bring you closer to God, if not all the way to Him. That's being defended from all danger, guarded and protected from all evil.
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