Today’s Reading: Introit for Quinquagesima (Psalm 31:1, 5, 9, 16; antiphon: vs.2b-3)
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! (From the Introit for Quinquagesima)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If God is our rock of refuge, we are refugees. It’s a humbling word. It isn’t just that God is our security, which sounds nice in a vague sort of way. Refugees are people who can’t stay in their homeland. It’s not safe. They need help. Without it they’ll die. It’s a bleak picture of the world in which we try to build kingdoms. Our world is dying. We don’t have a home here anymore. We don’t have shelter anymore. We live hand to mouth. It’s a long way from the white picket fence and happy family most people covet. Lent is coming. It’s a chance to recognize that homes and picket fences are not the things that save us, and to fear, love, and trust in them above all things is a certain path toward destruction. Idolatry will not save you, no matter how pretty you paint it.
But Lent also isn’t a call to cast these things aside if you do have them. It was God who gave them to you. Having stuff is not a test to see whether or not you’ll give them back in order to prove that you love God. It’s just a reality that the stuff that makes up daily bread will turn to dust someday. Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. Refugees migrate toward safety. The psalm is the prayer of the one who knows where true refuge lies.
We cling to God’s redemption. We cling to the Cross of Christ. We cling to the forgiveness of sins won, where the righteousness of God is given to sinners. When the wages of sin press down, we have a prayer that finds hope in that which sin could not destroy and death could not conquer. Even in this vale of tears, we have a rock of refuge, who is Christ. When all else crumbles, He is our fortress. Not just some day. The redemption has already happened. Today He makes His face shine on us. Today He leads and guides us. If we are refugees, we commit our spirits to the One who grants us a heavenly home and keeps us safe until we receive it, even Jesus Christ our Lord. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Jesus, refuge of the weary, Blest Redeemer, whom we love, Fountain in life’s desert dreary, Savior from the world above: Often have Your eyes, offended, Gazed upon the sinner’s fall; Yet upon the cross extended, You have borne the pain of all. (“Jesus Refuge of the Weary” LSB 423, st.1)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.