Wed, 18 September 2019
O protector of your sheep,
you laid down your life
giving your blood
for the service of souls
that all might witness
the surpassing love of the Lord
and the glory that awaits
those who die in Him –
pray for shepherds
who feed their sheep,
not lording it over them
or seeking what gain they might find
taking the milk and wool
of their flock
and leaving them naked and lifeless…
but living the call of Christ
as you, dear shepherd, have done.
Pray those who govern God’s Church
will be ready even to die for Him
and the people they serve.
Let all be protected by the blood of the Lamb.
Wed, 18 September 2019
(1Tm.4:12-16; Ps.111:2,7-10; Lk.7:36-50)
“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
prudent are all who live by it.”
If “the works of His hands are faithful and just,” as His children living in His Word and as His image, we must “be a continuing example of love, faith, and purity.” If we do not attend to this duty, “so that everyone may see [our] progress,” how shall we “bring to salvation [ourselves] and all who hear [us]”? Our love of Him must shine forth in all we do.
And what is the fear of the Lord spoken of in our psalm but the love shown by the woman in our gospel? As she stands behind Jesus, what is she but fearful, what is she but filled with love? This passage teaches us what fear of the Lord truly is, and what it isn’t. Certainly she is struck to the heart. Certainly in the presence of such purity she is convicted of her lust; certainly in the presence of such faith she is convicted of her lack thereof. But if she were fearful as the world understands the word, would she presume to touch Him? If she thought He might strike her to the ground, would she wipe His feet “with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with oil”? No, she would die where she stands. But as it is her tears are sweet, for she knows the forgiveness He holds for her in His sacred hands.
This is the fear of the Lord we all must have; it is this which is the beginning of wisdom. We must be convicted of our sins, yes; but at the same moment we must be filled with the overwhelming love of our God. The two go hand in hand, and it is the practice of this fear of God in love of Him and neighbor that is the fulfillment of our duty before Him, that will keep us as a holy example of His presence in the world. The Pharisee in our gospel lacks this holy fear. First of all, he does not see his sin, and so he is not moved to love. Failing to view himself in the light of the One present before him, he fails to find the grace that is the knowledge of our sins – and so he is not moved to love, and so he does not find forgiveness.
Let us not love little, brothers and sisters, for this would not be wise. Failing to live in holy fear of the Lord, we shorten His hand’s working in our lives. May we ever, by His grace, be convicted of our sins, and so turn to Him in love to find forgiveness. We will do this only if we remain ever in His presence, bowed at His sacred feet. Amen.
O LORD, in your House let us make our home
and to us you will be known.
YHWH, may you receive due glory from all souls, we pray. May all bless your holy NAME with songs of praise in your Temple. May all recognize that you are the God of all and that Jesus is your only Son, and so may all rebuild their broken souls by the grace that comes through Him. O let us all put you first in our lives! as you deserve.
It is our joy to praise you, LORD, to recognize your glory in our midst and so join in that glory you offer through your Christ. Without you, what are our lives worth? We remain hungry despite the food on our tables; we remain naked despite the clothing on our backs – we remain empty and poor despite the riches we gather if we remain apart from you in our paneled houses.
O let us set our hearts on serving you, on humbly coming before you as your sons, dear God, and we shall exult in glory.