Reflections: April 21, 2021
Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: The Apostles Creed, First Article, pt.1
Daily Lectionary: Exodus 34:29-35:21; Luke 7:36-50
Daily Lectionary: Exodus 34:29-35:21; Luke 7:36-50
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. (Small Catechism: The Apostles Creed, First Article)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Dr. Luther taught the meaning of the First Article, he started by teaching what God gives or provides according to His almighty power. Luther wrote, "I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life."
One of the greatest lies of our culture today is that what is "ours" is ours: "Our" bodies are ours, "our" lives are ours, "our" time is ours, etc. Wrong! Consider God's Word: "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19b and 20a). You were also created with a price, with a "price tag" that means you have infinite value because you belong to God. You are not your own. All that you have in accord with First Article gifts has come from God. To claim these things as our own is to ignore the Creator, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to pretend that what is the LORD's is only ours. This is not only an illusion. It is also a sin.
The LORD, however, is so good, so kind, so loving, and so merciful that not only did He heap our selfish, gobble-up-everything-claiming-it-as-our-own sin upon Himself to cover it with His atoning blood, but then He chose to actually GIVE TO US His Kingdom! How? By giving us Himself, the King! Christians are now in this amazing situation: They speak the truth when they say that what is theirs is really God's, but now in Christ, what is Christ's is also--really and truly--also theirs. How do we live in this Law/Gospel reality of what belongs to God and what belongs to us? We say that every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), and that whatever we say is "ours" is only because our Savior Jesus has given it to us to care for and to also say, "To God alone be all the glory!" In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us Your gifts of faith, hope, and love that we may receive the forgiveness You have promised and love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our LORD, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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