Reflections: December 10, 2020
Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
By Bradley Drew
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The names of God in today's reading should put a smile on your face. "The God of endurance." "The God of encouragement." "The God of hope." "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." That last one tells it all. God promises to endure us because of Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the Cross. God is always encouraged at the thought of you, because of Jesus and His death for you on the Cross. And God's plans for you and me forever include His love, His forgiveness, His salvation. Talk about the God of hope! Whoever you are, then, you can go to bed at night and get up in the morning in the glad confidence of God because of Jesus.
In his commentary on Galatians Luther writes of his father confessor, "I remember that Staupitz used to say: ‘More than a thousand times I have vowed to God that I would improve, but I have never performed what I have vowed. Hereafter I shall not make such vows, because I know perfectly well that I shall not live up to them. Unless God is gracious and merciful to me for the sake of Christ and grants me a blessed final hour when the time comes for me to depart this miserable life, I shall not be able to stand before Him with all my vows and good works.'" Luther added, "This despair is not only truthful but is godly and holy."
Will God grant us a blessed end and receive us to Himself? That's the promise of Jesus being conceived for you in Mary's womb, lying in the manger for you, living for you, dying for you, rising for you, and coming again for you. It's the promise Jesus makes with you every day in your Baptism, in the Absolution and sermons you hear every Sunday from your pastor, and with His Body and Blood at His Supper, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." For you, for that blessed end.
What's an obvious good work we are then all called to? Love. We are all brothers and sisters of endurance, now, of encouragement and hope because of Jesus. Forgive. Love. Embrace those around you because of Jesus. God grant this for His sake. God grant we would all, one day, together, glorify the God and Father of Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The One whom angels tended Comes near, a child, to serve; Thus God, the judge offended, Bears all our sins deserve. The guilty need not cower, For God has reconciled Through His redemptive power All those who trust this child. ("The Night Will Soon Be Ending" LSB 337, st. 2)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA
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