Reflections: June 19, 2021
Saturday of the Second Week after Trinity
By Jeffrey Horn
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. (From the Introit for the Third Sunday after Trinity)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In our Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Luke 15:1-10), we hear about how the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Jesus. These were people who had done things that were truly wrong. They'd harmed people in their families, their community, and their congregations. They could not fix the hurt they had caused. People looked down on them because of the pain they'd caused.
But Jesus welcomed them. He forgave their sins and healed their shame. They had sinned, but Jesus had taken those sins away. They could trust Christ to be their strength and their comfort.
Our Introit for this coming Sunday is from Psalm 25. It describes faith in God from the perspective of one who depends on God to forgive his sins and heal his shame. It gives words so the heart can understand the kind of love that God alone can give.
God gives this welcoming love to you. This psalm is given to you so you can pray it back to God. Your heart cries out to Him, "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins" (Psalm 25:1,2a). Christ Jesus is the kind of Savior who hears you and turns to you in grace.
Jesus finds you lonely and afflicted and comforts you. He comes to you in your isolation when you've let down the people you love and let yourself down. He comes to you in the desolate place where your own thoughts about yourself are even more harsh than the things your worst enemies could say about you. He speaks another Word in that maelstrom of guilt and shame.
Jesus speaks peace. He speaks forgiveness. He speaks love. And what He speaks is truly yours. Christ alone has the power to give this to you. He is God Almighty. His love isn't yours on condition of doing better. It's not yours because you will try harder to be good. No. He just plain forgives you. He loves you. He brings peace to you. And no one else can. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed But yet in love He sought me And on His shoulder gently laid And home rejoicing brought me. ("The King of Love My Shepherd Is" LSB 709, st.3)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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