Reflections: November 22, 2020
The Last Sunday of the Church Year
By Aaron Fenker
"In the middle of the night there was a shout, “Look, the Bridegroom! Come out to greet Him!” (Matthew 25:6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus will come. He will come to kick off the eternal feast, the eternal party, the eternal celebration. Jesus will send forth the Holy Spirit to raise the dead. The Spirit “will give eternal life to you and all believers in Christ” (Small Catechism: 3rd Article). And so you “will live under [Christ] in His Kingdom and serve in Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.” (Small Catechism: 2nd Article)
His return is unexpected. You won’t see it coming. Just like thunder waking you up in the middle of the night. The sound won’t be thunder then, thunder heralding, announcing that there’s lightning. It will be the cry of the angel, and he’ll be announcing Christ. “Look! It’s Him! It’s Jesus! He’s the Bridegroom! Come out and greet Him!” And those who trust in Him will not be put to shame, they will enter with Christ into the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end. Those who bartered, bargained, and betted on His coming and what was necessary in their relationship with Him. “We’ve got enough, right?” Well, they are left out, “Go away. I never knew you,” Jesus will say.
There’s no “enough” when it comes to the Lord Jesus. No, with Him there’s always more—always more mercy, always more forgiveness. Just look at what He does! For your salvation, it wasn’t enough for Him to become man or suffer or die or rise or ascend into heaven. No, now He rules the universe so that you would always have more than enough of His salvation, cup-overflowing salvation. He makes you His own in Holy Baptism—He knows you. You know Him, too, through His Word. There you hear of His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His death and resurrection: Preaching, Bible, Absolution, Forgiveness. He hosts for you His Feast of Victory, the Supper of His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins.
Jesus is the true Bridegroom. The Church His true Bride. He gives Himself into death for her, He makes her holy, He nourishes and cares for her. And His Bride, the Holy Church, is died for, holy, fed, and cared for. We are members of His Body, the Church. Not because of how wise we are or how righteous, pure, virgin-like we are. No, you are a member of His Body because you eat and drink of His body and blood. He remains with you and you with Him and He will resurrect you on the Last Day. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
-Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
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