Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 44:1-18,32-34; Mark 12:28-44

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true. (The Small Catechism: Third Article, Part 2)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So much of "church" can be about what you do. How you worship. How you feel. What you contribute. What you learn. How you grow. That way of church is a sort of church that is teaching us we have to build up a big, padded resume with the Lord, as if we aren't really Christians unless we do a lot of stuff. Once again, the Lord rescues us from that way of thinking. The Catechism reminds us that the church is all about the forgiveness of sins in Christ.

Everything in the Gospel is God's work. It's Jesus' doing for us: His being born; His perfect life; His Word; His suffering and death; His shedding His blood; and His resurrection from the dead. It's all about Jesus and what HE has done.

Some churches make it all about YOU. But if it's all about Jesus, then church is all about Jesus, too. That's what the Catechism teaches us regarding the Holy Spirit. His job is to make it all about Jesus now, in the church, for you: His washing of water and the Word; His loosing your sins and opening paradise; His feeding you with Body and Blood; His declaring the Good News; His forgiving your sins.

What we need is a God and a church who isn't on the lookout for what we can bring to the table. We need a God and church who saves us when we can't save ourselves, makes us holy when we make ourselves a mess and gives us eternal life when we are dead. The Catechism reminds us that the Spirit's work is exactly that: giving you Jesus' gifts and the forgiveness and everlasting life that Jesus' gifts bring. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Teach us to know the Father, Son, And You, from both, as Three in One That we Your name may ever bless And in our lives the truth confess. (Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest, LSB 499:6)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.