07 August 2010

Don't Worry. Be Ready.

Do not be afraid, little lamb of Jesus. Though you are small and weak, beleaguered, and mortal, you are more valuable to Christ than birds and flowers, more precious to Him than the ravens and the grass. Has He not redeemed you for Himself, purchased and won you with His own lifeblood? Has He not made His God and Father your own God and Father? Yes, this is most certainly true. So then, your Father shall not only feed you and clothe you, as He does the rest of all His creatures, but He has gladly chosen to give you His Kingdom.

Yes, do the work that He has given you to do, faithfully, in love for God and for your neighbor. But do not work as though your life depended on it, nor to get treasures for yourself on earth, which will not last but perish.

What God places in your hands, extend to your neighbor in mercy, in the confidence that God will surely continue to feed and clothe you according to His gracious providence. He knows your needs and well provides them. Be content, therefore, with the food and clothing that He gives you by His charity (for you are worthy of none of these things, but He gives them all to you by grace), and you, in turn, feed and clothe Christ Jesus in your neighbor's need.

Do not seek and strive after food and drink and clothing for this body and life. Do not make that labor your righteousness, and do not make those temporal goods your treasure and your gods.

But do seek the Kingdom of the one true God in Christ. Not by work and worry, but by faith in the Gospel: in the clothing of Christ, with which He clothes you in Holy Baptism, and in the Food and Drink of Christ, as you rest and recline at His Table where He serves you.

Fix your heart and mind, your eyes and ears, your body, soul and spirit on Him. For Christ is your true Treasure, an unfailing Treasure in heaven, who has come down to earth for you and freely gives Himself to you here.

As He has done so, and He does, and as the Father has not withheld His only-begotten and well-pleasing Son from you, but has given Him for you, how much more will He not also freely give you all good things in and with the same Lord Jesus Christ!

Though you do not yet see Him with your eyes, see Him by faith in His Gospel, in His means of grace and forgiveness, and hope in His great mercy and salvation. You will not be disappointed.

Do not worry about what you will wear, but do be dressed in readiness for Christ, clothed in His righteousness by His grace. Keep your lamps lit, your loins girded; for His Passover is at hand, the Sacrifice is offered.

Do not worry about what you will eat or drink, but here recline at your Master's Table, where He comes and girds Himself to serve you. He washes your dirty feet and waits on you. He is your Host, and He is your Meal. He is your Food and Drink indeed.

Like a Thief in the night He comes, by the way and the means of His Cross, with the fruits and benefits of the Cross for you, the Body and Blood of the Lamb who was slain.

Pharaoh is undone. Egypt is plundered. Even Satan, strong though he be, is bound and cast out.

For here is the true Solomon, the Son of David, the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace. He is your great and merciful High Priest forever, who brings in bread and wine, and blesses God and blesses you, and feeds you such a great Feast as you could never have imagined. Nor could all your work and worry ever spread such a Table as this one, which Christ has prepared for you by His own Cross and Passion.

Here is the true and promised Seed of Abraham, in whom all the promises of God are fulfilled, by whom all the nations of the world are blessed, by whose righteousness you are counted righteous: justified by His grace through faith in His Gospel.

Do not be afraid.

Though you have been fearful, He has been steadfast. Though you may yet be terrified, He has already prevailed for you, and for you He remains evermore, and evermore.

Though you have been anxious and worried about many things, He has been faithful in all things — on your behalf. And He is still faithful; all that He has promised, He does, and He will do — for you.

Though you have not been watching, waiting and alert, He has been ready, willing and able at all hours of the day and night. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, and through all the watches of the night, He is and ever has been vigilant in His care for you, just as He has gone to the cross for you, and risen from the dead for you, and lives to make intercession for you, and reigns over you in love for all eternity.

This greater Solomon — in all His Glory — has fasted and gone without food for His body; for His food is to do the will of His Father, and He has hungered for His Kingdom and His Righteousness, in order that you might be fed in His Peace.

This greater Solomon — in all His Glory — has thirsted, even unto death, that He might pour out the living water of His Holy Spirit upon you, and cleanse you and quench your thirst with the life-giving river of holy water and royal blood from His open heart and wounded side. And, dear one, as He has openend His heart to you, know that you are His treasure, and He is with you where you are.

This greater Solomon — in all His Glory — has gone naked in open public shame, that He might clothe you with His garments of divine Sonship and eternal Salvation.

Listen, dear child of God, disciple of Jesus, He has come, and He has opened the door to you. Beloved, He has girded Himself to serve you. Recline here at His Table, and receive what you did not expect:

Food from His hand. Drink from His Cup. Life from His death. Perfect Peace, instead of endless worries and anxieties. Safety from all that has frightened you and hounded you. Rest from all your labor.

Here is your true fatherland, in the city of your God, in your Father's House, whose Architect and Builder is Christ, your Savior. To Him be all Glory, honor, worship and praise, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen, and Amen.

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