“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.” (Introit for the Second Sunday after Trinity; Psalm 18:1-2, 27, 30, 49)
In the name of Jesus. Amen. The introductory notes to Psalm 18 tell us that David sang this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. Those who think they’re stronger and mightier than the Lord are sadly mistaken. In earthly appearance, the Lord’s servants are often ordinary and weak. David was an ordinary shepherd boy, yet in the Lord he was mighty. The disciples were ordinary, yet in Christ, they stood strong for the Gospel, some of them even giving their lives.
God’s way is not the way of glitz and glitter, but it’s the perfect way, the proven way. We may not like the fact the church is different from the world. We may not like the fact that the Cross appears weak. We’d prefer to go only the way of the empty tomb and leave the Cross in the past. The empty tomb clearly means victory, so why not bask in it? We can, but not without the Cross in view. You can’t have one without the other.
Sure, as Christians we sing the song of the victorious Lamb. We sing about the feast of victory for our God. But we walk the way of the Cross in the world. We go into the world humbled by God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ. We go, our eyes having seen the Lord’s salvation. We go with a song of thanksgiving in the midst of the world.
We don’t pretend that the church is some great utopia. The church is a place of refuge where sinners are declared righteous, saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. The church is a mighty fortress from the wickedness of the evil one, but its might is hidden. The church doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. It simply sings the song of salvation and the praises of Him who died and was raised again. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Restrain, O Lord, the human pride that seeks to thrust Your Truth aside Or with some man-made thoughts or things Would dim the words Your Spirit sings.” (LSB 585:5)