Reflections: Saturday of the Fourth Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Introit for the Transfiguration of Our Lord (Psalm 84:1-2a, 4, 10-11; antiphon: Psalm 77:18b)

Daily Lectionary: Job 2:1-3:10; John 1:19-34

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise. (From the Introit for the Transfiguration of our Lord)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Imagine being where the people around always sang into your ears the promise that by Jesus’ death for you upon the Cross your sins are all forgiven, your works have all been declared righteous in God’s sight, and your life completely holy. Imagine being where the liturgy always pointed you to the Gospel like that, where the words of Holy Absolution were constantly spoken and preached, and Jesus’ Body and Blood were ever present to eat and to drink as He promises, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Imagine that, and you’ll understand what the psalmist is talking about in tomorrow’s Introit. 

The world, on the other hand, convinced of its own righteousness, gathers together by its strength and choice only to talk about itself and its own works and to sing its own praises. It’s enough to suck the air out of any room, and the faith out of any believer. 

It’s why those who are in the house of the Lord are blessed.. Because no matter how broken and damaged we are by sin, how many times defeated by Satan, finding no refuge or help within, haunted by the past, frightened by the present, fearful of the future, in the house of the Lord we have in our ears again and again what calls us to faith, what gives and sustains and restores our faith: Jesus. 

Come what may in the world, we know what God has spoken, and what He has promised by the death of His Son for us. It’s why being even just “a doorkeeper” at church is better than a thousand days anywhere else (Psalm 84:10). Seeing through all the lies, through all the smoke and mirrors of false promises and false hopes (1 Corinthians 15:19; Ezekiel 37:11-14), we get to hear again and again the truth, the real story, the final Word that God has spoken over us. And it’s not us. It’s Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer’s ear! It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, And drives away our fear. 

It makes the wounded spirit whole And calms the heart’s unrest; ‘Tis manna to the hungry soul And to the weary, rest. 

Dear name! The rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place; My never failing treasury filled With boundless stores of grace. (“How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” LSB 524, st.1-3) 

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

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Pastor-psychiatrist duo Rev. A. Trevor Sutton and Dr. Brian Smith have teamed up to help you evaluate your technology use through a Christian perspective. Learn how to form healthy, faithful technology habits with Jesus at the center. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.