Fri, 6 October 2017
(Bar.4:5-12,27-29; Ps.69:33-37; Lk.10:17-24)
“He who has brought disaster upon you will,
in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”
That enduring joy which comes to us after this time of trial is our theme today. Not only does Baruch come to it in his exhortation for the people to “fear not” anymore but to turn to God and be glad, but it is David’s song as well: “You who seek God, may your hearts be merry!” he exclaims as he assures us that “God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah,” which were once “left desolate” “for the sins of [her] children.” Yes, as Baruch encourages Israel, “Fear not, my children; call out to God!” so David confirms that “the Lord hears the poor.” And from all their sins He shall save them.
And does not our gospel tell us the same. In it we are told that “Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit” and gave the Father “grateful praise,” saying, “What you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children.” To His children, to the humble, to the poor, He reveals Himself. And what can those who are blessed so, to see “what many prophets and kings wished to see” – what can we do but rejoice in His Spirit? For He has given us “power to tread on snakes and scorpions and all the forces of the enemy, and nothing shall ever injure” us. For sin no longer holds sway in our lives as it once did when we turned in the hardness of our hearts from the face of God and so were “handed over” to our foes. Though once we “forsook the Eternal God,” we now return to Him; and so the “mourning and lament” suffered because of our sin now become joy in His eternal presence.
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven.” We should rejoice not so much in the gift as in the giver, not so much in the power we have as in Him who gives the power. For great and wonderful as the overcoming of evil in this life certainly is, its entire purpose is to bring us into communion with the Lord in the New Jerusalem, in His heavenly kingdom. “Those who love His name shall inhabit it,” so let us join with Jesus in the Holy Spirit to praise the Name of the Father and the great blessing of life He imparts to us. And we shall find redemption from the punishment of our sins and rejoice as children in His presence forever. Amen.
O LORD, the Son has made you known,
and we may see Him, and we may hear Him –
let us turn from our sins!
YHWH, great mourning has come upon us because of our sins, but great hope we have in you who desire our salvation. Great joy is ours as we turn now from our sins and seek you ten times the more. You are ours as we come before you on our knees, and the joy you bring us will last forever.
O God, you are eternal, dwelling in unending light. And as that light comes to our eyes, what can we do but rejoice with your Son that your poor ones you bring to glory? In Heaven our names are written by your loving hand, in the blood of your merciful Son; all He has He has given to us, revealing even your presence, dear Father.
What power has Satan over your faithful ones, those whom you bless with your power and love? The Spirit has set us free from all bonds that we might walk with you, eternal LORD.