Today’s Reading: Introit for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Psalm 66:1-2a, 17, 19-20; antiphon: Isaiah 48:20b)
Daily Lectionary: Leviticus 26:21-33, 39-44; Luke 14:1-24
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessèd be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! (From the Introit for the Sixth Sunday of Easter)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It seems odd to bless God, doesn’t it? After all He is the one who blesses, right? But this psalm is all about calling out the wonderful deeds of almighty God so that others can know how faithful He is, and how worthy of our worship He is.
Even in the midst of all that you’ve done, the Lord God is still near you and caring for you. Even when you’ve slipped completely away from Him, the Lord gathers you back up into His arms to bless and keep you. So it is absolutely proper to call Him blessed and to sing His praises to those around you. The psalmist recounts all the mighty deeds of God in saving the people of Israel from Egypt and the centuries of warfare and captivity. In all of it, the one steady constant was the Lord God and His love for His people. He never lost faith in them, even when they lost faith in Him.
So it is for you. Your Lord Christ has never lost faith in you. You might have thought you could run and hide and find a place where He is not, so that you could be free of Him. But He was already there waiting for you, ready to scoop you up into His arms once again. You might have thought that you sinned so horribly that there was no way God would ever forgive you. But there stood Jesus, pierced hands reaching out to you, the words of forgiveness on His lips for you.
No, God your Father has not rejected your prayers. He has not removed His steadfast love. Instead, He heaped it upon you higher in times of need. Right now He stands ready to hear your prayer, to forgive your sins, to feed you with His life-giving Sacrament, so that you can use those same blood-whetted lips to thank and praise Him for all He has done, and continues to do, for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Duane Bamsch
For no one can condemn me Or set my hope aside; Now hell no more can claim me: Its fury I deride. No sentence now reproves me, No guilt destroys my peace; For Christ, my Savior, loves me And shields me with His grace. (If God Himself Be for Me, LSB 724:5)