Thu, 13 February 2020
O brothers in the faith
who brought that same faith
to the peoples
entrusted to your care,
who extended the reach of the Church,
gathering in lands
under her holy roof
and into her blessed arms…
faithful you were unto death
in proclaiming the word of God –
please pray that we, too,
shall be holy brothers of Christ,
offering our work, our lives,
for the sake of the nations
yet to be called
into His fold,
for the sake of peoples
unfamiliar with His Word,
that the heavenly kingdom
may come to fulfillment
and all be made one in God’s presence.
Thu, 13 February 2020
(1Kgs.11:29-32,12:19; Ps.81:9-15; Mk.7:31-37)
“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
so I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts.”
The Lord has said, “There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship an alien god,” but the people did not listen. Led by their corrupted king, “they walked according to their own counsels” and took to themselves the perverse gods worshiped by the nations of the world. And so it is that the prophet must remove his “new cloak” and tear it “into twelve pieces,” one for each of the tribes of Israel. How sad that the great kingdom which had so recently been united and so greatly been blessed by peace round about under the reign of the wise Solomon, now is to be torn asunder. Only a remnant will be left to David, out of respect for the Lord’s promise to him; and now, we are told: “Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.”
“If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways…” The psalmist’s words come as a lament for the deafness of the nation. If they would but listen and turn to Him, their amazement would go “beyond all bounds,” as does that of the people who brought Jesus “a deaf man with a speech impediment and begged Him to lay His hand on him.” They, too, would exclaim, “He has done everything well! He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!” For Israel is this deaf man. All of us are this man impeded in his speech. All need desperately to turn to Him, to have Him pray over us – to seek the words of His lips. And so all will know the blessing that comes thereby: “At once the man’s ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak plainly.”
Hear the voice of the Lord, brothers and sisters. Listen to it in the deep recesses of your heart. This voice comes to heal, like light to the very drums upon which the vibrations beat. Such purity could be yours. Such grace could be known in all the world, healing the rifts that divide nations and peoples, if all would but come to Jesus in the same faith as this deaf man and his friends. And then would we speak plainly of what the Lord has done. No deceit upon our lips, we would declare Him Lord… and the amazement at the peace He brings would extend to the corners of the world. Let your ears “be opened!” to His voice; with a soft heart turn to Jesus the Christ.
O LORD, you make the deaf hear and the mute speak;
heal our brokenness – let us worship you alone.
YHWH, open our ears that we might hear your voice calling us to worship you alone. Let us turn from strange gods and walking in our own ways and be obedient to you. We are deaf and we are dumb; may your Son touch us and pray over us that we might declare your glory to all. O let us be healed!
Why are our hearts so hardened against your loving embrace? Why do we turn so readily from the radiance of your face to look upon the corruption of this unholy place? You alone are LORD and God, your Son alone can save us – O let us heed your call, dear LORD! From our sin may He redeem us.
From rebellion let us come, we who are our own worst enemy. Save us from ourselves, dear God, and our disobedience. Take us far from the crowds and give us your attention, that somehow our hearts might open to your loving voice.