The cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD. (From the Introit for Septuagesima)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Septuagesima. About 70 days until Easter. We can’t stay on the mountain of Transfiguration forever. Thanks be to God for good days, but the bad ones tend to follow. The snares of death confronted me. That’s what the passion of our Lord is for. He rescues us from the evils that confront us, not by dangling a way of escape in front of us but by running ahead of us into every unsafe place we’re afraid of. The gesima Sundays count down to Easter, but that means they also introduce Lent. These aren’t Sundays meant simply to make you sad. They’re to speak to every awful thing you pray never happens and every awful thing you pray will stop right now.
The passion of our Lord gives us something to say to the not-so-great days. Jesus saved us from them. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and from heaven He heard my voice, but He didn’t stay there. He descended to save. Our fortresses aren’t the safe places that come and go or the heaven we hope for, but the Lord who goes into the unsafe places to die and rise to save. That’s the thing about real comfort. It isn’t a lack of bad things, but a presence of good things. A lack of bad things is just empty. The presence of a good so strong it overwhelms the rest and grants relief is true comfort. So Jesus descends from the heavens to save.
Everything you’re afraid of comes from sin, death, and the devil. Jesus conquered those. We don’t have to run anymore. In your Baptism He has already united you with the victory over them. By His Word, He gives you strength to find comfort in the face of them.. He has equipped us with His strength, and even forgives us our sins where we fall short of using that strength. The gesima Sundays give us words of praise to sing to the God who won’t stay on the mountain, because we can’t stay there, either. Your fortress goes ahead of you and with you, so that wherever you are, your prayers will be answered. Sin, death, and the power of the devil lay defeated on the side. God has saved His humbled people. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Gone the past, unknown the future–Grace supplies my daily breath; Strong in Christ through death’s dark valley, Firm and faithful unto death. (“All for Christ, I have Forsaken” LSB 753, st.3)
-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.