Reflections: December 12, 2020
Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
By Rev. Bradley Drew
Rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Tomorrow's Introit sets the theme: rejoicing. The pink candle on the Advent wreath will even be lit to commemorate the theme. The Divine Service, as it unfolds, will point the way for us: "in the Lord always." That always makes all the difference in our rejoicing. Keep it anchored "in the Lord always." Never in us. Always in Jesus.
The baptized are not being urged to have plastic smiles plastered on their faces all the time. "Your dog died. Rejoice!" "You just failed. Rejoice!" "You're sick. Rejoice!" There are things in life we simply cannot, and should not, rejoice in. But no matter the circumstance, one thing always remains constant: Jesus "is at hand." That is always something to rejoice in. This life, of course, will never be perfect. In fact, far from it. But whatever it is you are going through, Jesus is there for you. Having been born for you, having lived, died for you on the Cross, and risen for you, Jesus is always there, for you. No matter where, what, when, or why.
Jesus is even washed over you now every day in Baptism, spoken to you in every Absolution and sermon you hear from your pastor, and fed to you at His Supper with His own Body and Blood, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." Jesus hasn't walked away from you or forgotten you. Jesus is there with you, in the midst of it all. "The Lord is at hand!" Even when it looks like He is not? Even then. Rejoice "in the Lord always." "You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin" (Psalm 85:2). Tomorrow's Introit reminds us that whatever we are going through, it's not because God is hating on us. It's just that God's ways are hidden from us. God's ways are so far above ours, if God tried to explain Himself we wouldn't like it, or Him. It's part of His mercy that He hides His ways from us.
So when things go bad, or your hopes fizzle, and nothing goes the way you planned, don't think, "Why does God hate me?" Think, "Jesus is still at hand!" Let that promise wash over your troubles. He's got this. And He's got you. You are still holy to God. His child. No need to panic or lash out. It's all good. It's all going to be okay. It has to be, for "the Lord is at hand." That's the Good News tomorrow. It's the Good News always. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing, A cheerful trust maintain; For God, the Source of ev'rything, Your portion shall remain. ("Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing" LSB, st.1)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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