Sep 12, 2023
(Col.3:1-11; Ps.145:2-3,9-13; Lk.6:20-26)
“Set your heart on what pertains to higher realms
where Christ is seated at God’s right hand.”
Is this not the central message of the Lord’s beatitudes: “Be intent on things above rather than on things of earth.” For how could we be blest in poverty, hunger, and weeping if our hearts are set on this earth? And how could riches and fullness and laughter be curses except that they do not find their origin in heaven? Paul makes it explicit: “You have died!” he declares, and leaves no question but that our “life is hidden now with Christ in God.” There must our hearts be.
“Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth,” the Apostle continues. Lust and anger and deceit have no place in the life of a follower of Christ, for these indeed are sins of this earth which stand in contradiction to the grace of heaven. Therefore, we must set them all aside to become “a new man, one who grows in knowledge as he is formed anew in the image of his Creator.” It cannot be that the Lord’s children have discourse with evil conduct; those who are called to heaven must “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom,” their souls must “speak of [His] might” and their lives must be lived in His light.
And so the Lord “raised His eyes to His disciples.” And so He spoke to them of heaven. And so the blessing of persecution in this world was made known to them, that their hearts might begin to understand. God’s world is not this world; His kingdom is not of darkness but of light. And if in the darkness we take our refuge, and if our hearts are not grieved by its injustice… if we fat ourselves on things of the flesh and turn our eyes from the demands of the Spirit… how shall we ever find justice and light? How shall we ever come into the Lord’s glorious presence? What will we do then but weep in our emptiness?
The Lord’s kingdom is coming, brothers and sisters. Be assured. What this world holds – its passion and death – is passing quickly, like a cloud in the night. The rays of morning are not far from us, for the Lord is even now at our side. And to His side in heaven we shall yet come, if we but accept His blessing. So let us say with David, “Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations”; and let us enter now into His eternal presence.
O LORD, let us set our hearts on your kingdom
and let this world and its sin pass away.
YHWH, blessings and woes you hold for all souls, and so help us set our hearts on things above rather than things of earth, on your kingdom which endures forever and not on this dying, deceit-filled place. Let our mouths bless you and speak of your glory, not be filled with every kind of wickedness. For then indeed we will be blessed by you, as those who revel in their sin are subject to your wrath.
O let us not take our consolation now in this dark world! Let us not give ourselves to the passion and lust that characterize this age. We must die to all of this world and find our life in your Christ, who has died, or when He appears we shall be condemned. Help us, O LORD, to rejoice in the persecution that is ours in following His way, knowing we are thus joined to Him and, so, destined also for His glory. All idolatry let us set aside and make your Son our only desire. O let us be poor souls who hunger ever for you!