September 13, 2008 - Saturday of the 16th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 32:1-22; Colossians 1:1-23

Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, And teach me Your statutes.(from the Introit for Trinity 17)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The words from tomorrow's Introit teach us the Christian life. First, that the Lord is merciful to us. He forgives us our sins and counts us as righteous for Jesus' sake. That's His mercy. Second, that He teaches us His statutes, that is, His commandments--how we are to glorify Him and love and serve our neighbor. The Christian faith is never only about what God does for me. And it's not just about how we are supposed to live toward others. It's about both, in the proper balance: God's mercy that saves us. God's instruction teaches us to be a blessing to others.

Of course, these aren't just ideas we have to pick up on our own. God's mercy and statutes are all wrapped up in Jesus. Jesus is God's mercy. To receive mercy is to not get the punishment we deserve. Jesus is God's mercy because in Him our sins are forgiven. He died on the cross when He didn't have to, for people who didn't deserve it or even care if He did it! On account of His death and resurrection, the sins of the world—your sins—have been pardoned. God's mercy is also seen in your Baptism and in the preaching of this Good News and in the Lord's Supper. That's how God's mercy comes to you.

But Jesus is also the Keeper of the Law. He is the One who knows the statutes (laws) of God. After all, He gave them to Moses! To pray, as the Psalmist does, that God would teach us His statutes is that He would teach us to love our neighbor and care for others. But it also means that He gives us more Jesus, so that we can see how Jesus kept the Law in our place. We learn to believe that for Jesus' sake, the Father sees as those who keep His Laws in Christ.

We want the Lord to deal with us according to His mercy. That means not what we deserve, but what is given on account of Jesus. We also pray the Lord teach us His statutes. We learn that all of His Word is about the delivery of Jesus to us.

God's mercy saves us and His statutes guide us. That's the whole Christian life. And it's all wrapped up in Jesus. So, off to church tomorrow where the Lord has loads of mercy for you and His statutes to teach, too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O grant that nothing in my soul May dwell but Thy pure love alone; Oh, may Thy love possess me whole, My joy, my treasure, and my crown! All coldness from my heart remove; My ev'ry act, word, thought be love. (LSB 683:2)