March 11, 2005 - Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent

“This is allegorically speaking: For these are the two testaments: One is from Sinai giving birth to slavery, which is Hagar.  And this Hagar is Mount Sinai and corresponds to the now Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  And the Jerusalem above is free, who is our Mother.” (Galatians 4:21-31)

In the name of Jesus.  Amen.  St. Paul says that we have a Mother.  In fact, all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus have the same Mother.

She is the Jerusalem above that is free.  She is our Mother.  In our Mother, we receive the gifts that Jesus, our Brother, won for us on the Cross by dying for all our sins.  In our Mother, our sins are washed away, our sins are absolved, and we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

Do you know who our Mother is yet?  The Small Catechism says that, in our Mother, the Holy Spirit, “...daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.”

Still don’t know?  Our Mother can be a whore at times, running after the slavery of the “now Jerusalem.”  But when the Lord Jesus sees her, He only sees His Bride, for whom He gave up His life, " sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious...” (Ephesians 5:26-27).

Still don’t know?  He presents His Bride, our Mother, to Himself, “...having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless,” (Ephesians 5:28).  She is holy.  She is one.  She is catholic, which means she is universal.

Our Mother has marks.  You can find our Mother where the Gospel is preached in its truth and purity and where the Sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.

You’ve got it, don’t you?  Dr. Luther says that any seven-year-old knows who our Mother is!  Our Mother, the Bride of Christ, is the Christian Church.

In the Christian Church, the Holy Spirit keeps us in the true Faith.  In His Church, Jesus washes our sins in Holy Baptism.  In His Church, the Holy Spirit puts the words of Jesus into our ears.  These words call us to repent for the evil we have done, and then proclaim to us the forgiveness of our sins in Christ Jesus.  In His Church, we receive Holy Absolution, the very voice of the Gospel.  In His Church, Christ feeds us His Body and Blood.

Some say our Mother has warts, but Jesus doesn’t see them.  He has washed her sins and made her clean with water and His Word.  She is without spot or blemish.  He has washed you too and you are clean.  He did that in the Church, His Bride, and our Mother.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Higher Things Reflections are written by Rev. George F. Borghardt III, Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX.