Thu, 12 October 2017
(Jl.1:13-15,2:1-2; Ps.9:2-3,6,8-9,16; Lk.11:15-26)
“It is near, a day of darkness and of gloom,
a day of clouds and somberness!”
And we must be prepared. We must rend our hearts and not our garments. We must “spend the night in sackcloth,” repentant of our sins. We must “proclaim a fast” and “cry to the Lord,” “for near is the day of the Lord.”
The prophet Joel sounds this alarm several hundred years before Christ, and in truth it proclaims the coming of Christ. For it is His coming that separates the wicked from the just; it is He who “judges the world with justice” – it is by Him the names of the wicked are “blotted out forever and ever” and those who “declare all [His] wondrous deeds” find their salvation.
The day is coming and is already here, for the Lord declares in our gospel, “The man who is not with me is against me, and the man who does not gather with me scatters.” He makes clear the works of Satan, which do not bring healing but only sickness and death, and the works of “the finger of God,” which overpower and “cast out devils.” Here the judgment is come; here it begins. In the end it shall be fulfilled and the great divide between evil and good will be set for all eternity, but here and in this time the Word of Truth goes forth, calling all souls to leave behind all sin.
But, brothers and sisters, our fasting must be complete; our weeping, our repentance, must be genuine. We must turn entirely from our sins and make place only for the Lord Jesus Christ to live in the houses of our souls. If the Lord lives in us, there is no place for darkness. If the Lord is within us, no devil can dwell there. But if in hypocrisy we pretend a conversion, we expand the space for the devil’s dwelling in our homes. For the two are indeed mutually exclusive: the Lord has nothing to do with the devil, and the devil nothing to do with the Lord. And so if we hope to stand on the day when darkness covers the earth, “spreading over the mountains, like a people numerous and mighty”; if we hope to remain when the Lord returns with His myriad of angels to judge the earth and the thoughts of men’s hearts… we must enter His grace this day – we must now call upon His Name. There is no other way, my brothers and sisters. You must be with Him or against Him. The choice between life and death is presented before you; for the day of darkness is nigh. Choose His eternal light!
O LORD, your Day is at hand –
let us make room in our hearts only for you.
YHWH, your throne is set up for judgment; near is your Day. Soon you will come to destroy all the wicked, that in your presence the just might shine. Your Son you have sent to redeem the world, to call every soul from its sin, but failing repentance what shall happen to us on the great and terrible Day of His return?
Forever you are enthroned on high, O LORD, and who can approach your glory? What hope have we of uniting with you, of looking upon your face, we who have been so sinful? How shall we come into your House and there find eternal rest if we do not wholeheartedly accept the cleansing Word of your Son?
If there is any pretense in us, we shall not stand with Him. And so, O LORD, let us fast and pray for all devils to be cast from us that we might forever sing your praise.