November 9, 2008 - The Third Last Sunday in the Church Year

Today's Reading: Matthew 24:15-28

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 22:1-23; Matthew 25:1-13

But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:12-13)

Pastor Philipp Nicolai was a faithful pastor in Germany at a very difficult time. Seminary had not prepared Pastor Nicolai for what he would face in his ministry. At one time he was averaging 30 funerals a day due to bubonic plague that had engulfed his community. One day he was sitting at his desk, which overlooked the church cemetery, and saw the mounds of all the people that had just been recently buried there. What was worse, he had just buried a 15-year-old student of his and the thought of his own impending doom was great. However, Pastor Nicolai was ready to meet his Lord, .

As a testimony to this fact, he wrote a book of meditations which contained many hymns of rejoicing at the thought of meeting Christ.. Whether the Lord would take him now or allow him to stay and comfort those under his care, Pastor Nicolai was comforted in the Gospel that brought him so much peace.

Many of us have suffered the loss of loved ones. These times are difficult, and death and sorrow make it hard to sing and rejoice. Yet, that is exactly what we do. We rejoice and sing because Jesus will come again and bring us home to be with Him. We rejoice and sing because Christ has risen from the dead and the dead in Christ will rise first. When you are united with Christ, you are united with Him in His death and His resurrection.

Where does that uniting finally happen? In the Lord’s Supper. He does so by calling us here, to His Altar, to His holy meal of body and blood. That is your link to His death and resurrection. Everything comes together here. Heaven and earth intersect. Death and life. Our Lord joins Himself to you here and gives you His very life.

Almighty God, we implore You, show Your mercy to Your humble servants that we, who put no trust in our own merits, may not be dealt with after the severity of Your judgment, but according to Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen