Lent 2 - Supplement to the Reflections
By Harrison Goodman
Hi, I’m Pastor Goodman, and this is the Assistant to the Dean's List. We are examining our daily Reflections at Higher Things, finding the gift of Jesus given for you throughout this Lenten season.
This, the second Sunday in Lent would be Reminiscere. Again, Latin for the first bit of the Introit: "Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love."
God doesn't need help doing that. We do. So we focus on His promises in the psalm from our Reflection, from our readings. And by the Holy Spirit, we say "Amen." It's actually all faith can say.
Pastor Fenker shows us that faith always says, "Amen." "Yes, yes, this is most certainly true." "Verily, verily, I'm on board with that stuff. Amen."
See, it's not just agreeing with God about what's wrong in the world. It's actually also knowing who Jesus is as He's in the middle of the world. We have a woman whose daughter is demon-possessed and she says, "Amen." Not because she agrees that it's wrong, but because she knows who our Lord is.
That means, when Jesus speaks -- even when He speaks in ways that are hard to understand -- we find them as good gifts because we know who our God is.
So if Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel...well, He must be the Shepherd. "Amen." If it is not right to take the little children's bread and throw it to the dogs...well, the children must be fed, and the dogs are still cared for -- if even by the crumbs. "Yes, Lord, Amen."
We are little dogs. Very sinful. But we still look only to Jesus for good. See, the word "Amen" means that when Jesus is there, it's there for good. The word "Amen" means that if this woman -- even in the midst of her frustration, even in the face of a Jesus who doesn't just seem to give like a vending machine when she asks for it -- if He is there, it must be for her good.
So she insists that God gives good gifts. And, by faith, even His rebukes are good news. For even while He sits there, He sits there as somebody who has been given to save sinners. Who's there to save her and her daughter. This is the kind of Jesus that we have.
On Wednesday's Reflection, Pastor Fenker points out that we have the "here, there, and everywhere Jesus." We have the Jesus who doesn't just run straight into Jerusalem, but He wanders all around the weirdest parts of the area, because He is there to save everyone. He is there to save Syrophonecians and Gentiles. He is there to save the deaf and mute. He is there to save the sinners. He is there to save the dead. He is even there to save you.
See, God doesn't wait for us to come to Him at the right place, He presents Himself to us.
And it looks like something. On the Tuesday Reflection Pastor Fenker points out that holiness doesn't look like...you. Holiness looks like Jesus. It's always sin that wants to make holiness look like us. That we can somehow be the example of that which is holy.
And we'll always grab hold of the Law to try and do this thing. We use the Law to try and find a way to make it so that we, by our doing of works, look holy. But the thing is, when we grab hold of the Law, it makes us look worse.
Pastor Fenker wrote, "YOLO." That’s a sign of his sin. But Jesus, Jesus makes sinners look like Him. Not by the Law, but by the Gospel. In Baptism, you wear Christ. You put on Christ. You are in Christ. So He is your holiness. He is your righteousness. He is your hope.
So we can stop trying to make holiness look like us by the Law, and we can rejoice that, by the Gospel, He makes us to look like Him. Over, and over, and over again. Daily, in the waters of your Baptism He does this. And that shapes our Lenten practice.
See, Lenten practice doesn't become how to climb a ladder up to God and earn credit or earn salvation before Him by your praying enough or going to church on Wednesdays because there's soup and (I guess) also service. Or anything else that you would do. It's a recognition that Jesus saves sinners. Jesus saves you. Not because you trusted Him. Rather He saved you first. And because He has done this, you trust Him.
See, God worked first. Our trust is in His actions, not our ability to do anything. He went through the cross unto death and out of the grave to save you. And because He was willing to do that for you, you trust Him.
Lenten practices focus on the gifts that God gives, the place that God would go to save you. So that in the face of all that is wrong that Lent would reflect upon the weakness of the flesh, the power of the world, the evilness of the devil...we would find hope in Jesus...who wanders all over to save sinners. To make you look like holiness. To give you His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Word and Sacrament, in the waters of your baptism that you wear right now.
Catch Pastor Goodman on Fridays in Lent for a special devotional supplement to the Higher Things daily Reflections.
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(ASL Reflections are also available using the above link).
(ASL Reflections are also available using the above link).
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