Tue, 5 February 2019
O proclaimers of the faith
even unto death,
death on a cross,
you who have followed
in the way of our Lord
loving your enemies
even as they killed you,
encouraging your brothers
even with your last breath –
may the blood you shed not be forgotten
by those of the nation in which you preached
and by all souls who seek God;
may it nourish the land
and bring it to bear much fruit
Pray that we who are so fearful here
may find the faith and courage
and so be blessed with the same grace
that imparts the peace of the kingdom.
Tue, 5 February 2019
(Heb.12:4-7,11-15; Ps.103:1-2,13-14,17-18; Mk.6:1-6)
“Whom the Lord loves, He disciplines;
He scourges every son He receives.”
Like His only Son we must be. For without discipline where would we be? Apart from the Lord’s chastising hand, into what state would we fall? Without the cross, how could we find the kingdom?
If the Lord did not scourge us, we would be blind as His countrymen in our gospel today, who question even what their ears behold and their eyes see – dead to His presence we would remain. Only the dust of His flesh would we look upon, thinking He is no more than our sinful selves; far short of His divinity would we fall. And so a word of chastisement He brings to our hearts, as He does those of “His native place,” of “His own house,” condemning our failure to honor God in His prophets and in His Son, calling us beyond our eyes of flesh to the breath of the Spirit.
Oh how our “lack of faith distress[es] Him”! Oh how He would stir within us “that holiness without which no one can see the Lord”! For “the kindness of the Lord is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear Him,” and His kindness He would have all know. But failing of a reverent awe for the Most High Lord, what do we do but grovel in the dust? Our hearts cannot know Him if they are not humble; our souls cannot bless Him if they are not holy… and so we lose “all His benefits” by a stubborn pride. This is not the will of God.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord “knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.” But from the dust He calls us to join Him on high, to rise above our earthen state. In His compassion the Father would have us be even as He is; and so He sends His only Son to suffer for our sins, to show us the path to holiness we must walk. “So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees”; fear not the cross of Jesus. For by it you will be made strong, you will be made whole; through it “the grace of God” will pour, and make you as His own.
Peace soon follows every cord of scourging; the nails in our hands open our souls to the Spirit’s movement, to the Lord’s love, as by this bleeding our sins are purged. And in His light we shall soon stand, “all [our] being bless[ing] His holy name.” Then we shall no longer question His wisdom but in His mercy make our home.
O LORD, may we be your sons
not just in flesh but in truth;
your compassion be upon us
in the discipline of your Word.
YHWH, thank you for your discipline, for your blessed chastising hand. It is out of love you correct us; in your compassion you desire us to be with you. Let us praise you for your kindness.
Forgive us, LORD, all our blindness, all our failure to see your hand at work. Our disobedience hurts us most of all, for by it we separate ourselves from your love. In our lives let your will be done!
If you had not compassion on our erring hearts, if you scourged not our sinful souls, where would we be, LORD, where would we be? From your healing and your teaching let us never be apart.
Come to your native place this day, O LORD. Those baptized in your NAME please bless. Let us welcome you with open arms into our houses, treasuring every chastising word, and we shall be at peace in your presence.