Sat, 18 February 2012
(Is.43:18-19,21-22,24b-25; Ps.41:2-5,13-14; 2Cor.1:18-22; Mk.2:1-12
“It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses;
your sins I remember no more.”
What a wonderful promise the Lord makes to us today, and proves His word true in Jesus His Son.
Yes, the Lord “has regard for the lowly and the poor,” and so He looks with pity on the paralytic lowered through the roof for healing. Jesus “help[s] him on his sickbed” and “take[s] away all his ailment,” both spiritual and physical, first granting him forgiveness of sins, then calling him to “rise, pick up [his] mat, and go home.” And so indeed his sins are gone, remembered no more, and so he is made whole… and so the home to which he returns is more than the one with walls and a roof – he returns to his eternal home in the arms of the Lord.
How the Lord indeed reveals that He is “doing something new!” For do not all the people exclaim, “We have never seen anything like this” at the healing of the paralytic? And is it not right that they should glorify God in such a manner? What could be more remarkable than the teaching and healing and forgiving presence of Jesus in our midst? How could God fulfill His promises in a greater way? It could not be. “God is faithful,” indeed, and “the Son of God, Jesus Christ” is He who is the Father’s “yes” to all His promises. What can we do but rejoice in such grace?
“O Lord, have pity on me; heal me, though I have sinned against you.” “In the desert [you] make a way, in the wasteland, rivers”; to the desert and wasteland of my sinful soul bring your cleansing waters. As you took pity on the paralytic, as you called him to rise from the unyielding pull of his mat, so call me to lift myself up from the mire of sin into which I have fallen. Let your promise be fulfilled in me: wipe out my offenses and remember my sins no more, that I might walk resolutely to my home in heaven and there “stand before you forever.” I give you my “yes” of faith this day.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "I Used To Be So Weak" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, you now work something new in our sight –
our very salvation;
forgive us all our sins.
O LORD, let us not fail to call upon you, let us not fail to come to you with all our ills, that you might readily heal us because of our faith. We shall be raised from our sickbeds if we but believe in the power upon your Son. Yes, the Spirit is with Him, and shall be with us if we but give ourselves over to you.
Let us not remain dead in our sin, O LORD, doubting your goodness and your grace; let us put our faith in the One you have sent, and we will be blessed, and we will come to the home you prepare for us through the ministry of your only Son… and we will praise you forever.
Fri, 17 February 2012
(Jas.3:1-10; Ps.12:2-5,7-8; Mk.9:2-13)
“He hardly knew what to say,
for they were all overcome with awe.”
O brothers and sisters, how like Peter we should be in the presence of God and among one another. So conscious of the Lord’s wondrous being in our midst should we ever remain. Then we would not sin with our tongue, but listen to His holy word instead. For our tongues are indeed “like a fire [that] is enkindled by hell,” but His words are “like tried silver, freed from dross, sevenfold refined.”
In our first reading today, James presents clearly with strong analogy the dangers of the tongue. Though “a small member” it serves to guide the rest of our bodies like the bit in the mouth of a horse or the rudder of a ship.
And how difficult to control it is! “The tongue defiles the entire body” so easily. “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” which so soon infects our members. How shall we find the means to control it? Only by obedience to the Lord and silence in His presence.
“A cloud came, overshadowing them, and out of the cloud a voice: ‘This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to Him.’” O the voice of God and the words of His Son! O how our ears and our hearts must be attuned to this Word, to this voice speaking to us! This is He; you are not He. Listen – do not speak. Know what “the Scriptures say of Him.” He is the One. Only His words matter.
Notice, too, what Elijah and Moses do when they appear with the Lord: “the two were in conversation with Jesus.” What holy speech this can only have been! And do we dare speak as they converse? And does not God converse with His Son and with His creation at all times? Does He not call to us in all sounds? And do we listen – are our ears open to His voice? Or are we too busy cursing men, men “made in the likeness of God”? Certainly, “this ought not to be, my brothers.”
“May the Lord destroy all smooth lips, every boastful tongue, those who say, ‘We are heroes with our tongues; our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?’” Only “if a person is without fault in speech [is he] a man in the fullest sense.” Let your tongue be controlled and so your whole body. Let your thoughts be pure, then so will your actions be. But if you speak falsehood, you are inclined to damnation.
Be silent before the wonder of God. Let His Word steer your ship.
O LORD, as a child let us come to you,
in trusting prayer,
and you will hear and answer us.
YHWH, how powerful prayer is! For it unites us to you and to your great power; it makes us as your children. Let our prayer be sincere, that we might find your gentle embrace.
There is nothing we need fear, dear LORD, if we but turn to you. If we ask, you will give, and cure us indeed of every ill. And so, let us pray for one another in your NAME, desire the salvation of all souls by your grace, and the blessing of your Son’s Cross will reign here on earth and bring us soon to Heaven. Let your will be done and your kingdom come.
Let us pray especially for your priests and the special power you give them to forgive men’s sins and make your presence known among us. In your sacraments we take our refuge, LORD; let them always be celebrated in accord with your Word.
Let our prayer come like incense before you, O LORD; may it be acceptable in your sight. Let it always come from an innocent heart.