Reflections: Friday of Epiphany Week

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 1:1-14, 22-28; Romans 1:1-17

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Up and at ’em!” my father would call out from the doorway as I tried desperately to catch a few more Zs. But Dad wasn’t having it. It was Saturday. There were chores to do. Things that needed to be done. “Up and at ’em!” came the cry, at the crack of noon. 

For years, I wondered what in the world “Adam” had to do with Saturday mornings. I didn’t realize, until years later, Dad was saying “at ’em,” not “Adam.” Still, with a grin on his face, born no doubt more of the pain on mine than over any confusion over who “Adam” might be, Dad cried out, “Up and at ’em!” Sometimes it was just, “Rise, and shine!” Either way, I was nowhere near ready to rise and “whatever,” especially on Saturdays. “Come on, Dad. There’s nothing in me, from me, about me that wants to. Can’t you just leave me alone, Dad? At least until I feel more like being at ’em or rising and shining”?

Dad didn’t cry out to me because he knew how bright and cheery I was, especially on Saturdays, but because he knew, even then, that I was his. It’s the same with God in today’s reading from Isaiah. He knows our sin, and all the darkness and burden our sin, and the sin of the world, has brought. He also knows there is nothing in us, from us, or about us that wants to “rise and shine.” But He also knows that we’re His, now, no matter what, because that’s the promise of the Gospel.

That’s the promise of Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the Cross. It’s the promise Jesus washes onto you every day in your Baptism, speaks to you through your pastor every Sunday, and feeds you with at His Supper. God will even claim you again with Jesus on the Last Day. 

So for now? You got it. “Up and at ’em!” For you are not your own light anymore. You are not your own righteousness, or hope, or brightness, or anything else with God. Jesus is. Jesus always is. And that’s mighty Good News, especially on those “Saturdays.” “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Arise and shine in splendor, Let night to day surrender. Your light is drawing near. Above, the day is beaming, In matchless beauty gleaming; The glory of the Lord is here. (“Arise and Shine in Splendor” LSB 396, st.1) 

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch