Reflections: December 6, 2020
The Second Sunday in Advent
By Bradley Drew
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So much can trip us up. Troubles at school and home. People pick on us. Friends betray us. Things don't work out as we had hoped. Sometimes troubles pile up so high our hearts faint with fear. And Jesus knows this. "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity…people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world" (Luke 21:25-25). It's happening still in our day.
But remember, Jesus also says, "Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28). That is what is in store for you, my friend. Not God's wrath. Jesus. His redemption. Your redemption. It's His promise.
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that trials and troubles are signs of God's wrath toward us. Jesus knows we live with such fear because of our sin. It's why He always points us to the promise of our redemption, His sacrifice for our sin on the Cross. You may think God is hating on you, casting you away because of all that is happening to and around you. Jesus promises, you couldn't be further from the truth. God turned on Jesus when He died for you on the Cross. He will never now turn on you.
God seals that promise to you in Holy Baptism. He puts it in your ears with His Word, and into your mouth with His Supper, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." God's got this. He promises you.
In today's Collect we pray for God to "stir up our hearts," not because we have any confidence in them, but because we don't. We know their poverty. We will never find courage or faith in our hearts. Only by Jesus' coming to us as our redemption in Word and Sacrament, and only by Jesus' coming to us on the Last Day as our salvation will our hearts be given faith and courage in our redemption, despite all our troubles.
Stay awake. Troubles are not proof of God's hatred. They're just proof we're not with Him yet, where we belong. God sent Jesus to accomplish that for us. He will send Jesus again to fulfill it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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