September 11, 2008 - Thursday of the 16th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 29:1-24; Philippians 3:1-21

and said to them: "Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place."For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the LORD our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the LORD, and turned their backs on Him. (2 Chronicles 29:5-6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. By the time Hezekiah was king of Judah, God's people had made His Temple into something close to a trash dump. Not many people worshiped there. The priests didn't offer sacrifices like they were supposed to. There were even worship services for false gods going on at the Temple! Hezekiah, as the king of Judah, called the priests back to their responsibility to be the givers of God's gifts in His House, where His Holy Name was.

There's always a danger to make worship into something about ME. There's a desire to be entertained, or at least not to be bored. We want preaching or music that gets us excited instead of confesses the faith. We want sermons that tell stories to inspire us rather than a proclamation of God's Word which forgives us. We want things done in a way so that we can show God how excited we are for Him. Time to repent! Clear that rubbish out of the Holy Place!

The only worship that saves us is the kind where the Lord is giving us His gifts. Sure, we offer Him our prayers and praises. But what takes away our sins is the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. What saves us is Water and the Word. What saves us is that our sins are declared null and void in absolution. What saves us is that Christ puts not rubbish, but His treasure, His own body and blood into us. True worship is the worship that clings to Christ and His gifts because nothing else matters, nothing else saves us, and nothing else makes us right with God.

The people of God got tired of the Lord and His gifts. Hezekiah called them to repentance. Christ calls you and brings you to his house where He showers you with good gifts. What else is the House of the Lord for than for Jesus to give His forgiveness, life and salvation for you? In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Preserve, O Lord, Your Zion, Bought dearly with Your blood; Protect what You have chosen Against the hellish flood. Be always our defender When dangers gather round; When all the earth is crumbling, Safe may Your Church be found. (LSB 658:3)