31 October 2010

Up a Tree to See Jesus

Beloved, your God comes, and He is not silent. He speaks to you by His Son: in the flesh. For Jesus enters this city and comes to this house, and He is passing through this place on His way, even now, with His Word. How shall you abide with Him? What shall you do?

Hear and heed His Word. Give ear to His instruction. Repent of your sin.

Cease to do evil, learn to do good, and walk in the ways of the Lord; lest you perish with your possessions and not live to see the glory of God.

The fact is that worldly wealth and spiritual stature often do not coincide or run together.

For those who are rich in this world and small toward God, shall not see His salvation. But those who are small in this world, and yet rich toward God, they shall be saved.

So then, in what ways are you rich? What sort of wealth do you possess? What is your strong suit? What are your treasures and talents? And what do you do with those riches?

By the same token, in what ways are you small? Where and how are you little and weak? Where do you struggle to get by and make ends meet? How do you compensate and cope?

From what you have heard, you know that you need to see Jesus, and you want to be able to see who He is. Rightly so, for He is your Savior and your God. He comes to deliver you from sin and death and every evil, and to bring you into heaven, to the bosom of Abraham in the house of His God and Father.

But you are unable to see Jesus because of the crowds, both inside and out: that is, the noisy throngs of people round about you, and the competing thoughts and feelings always running amok in your heart and in your head. Such things crowd out the sight and sound of Jesus.

Run, then, to the tree, in order to see Him and know Him.

For it is to the tree of the Cross that Jesus is making His way, and by the tree of the Cross that He passes through death into life. So, too, it is by the Cross that you see Him as He is; for God is glorified in Him, in His Passion, in His voluntary suffering and sacrificial death.

Not by your own cross, but by the Cross of Christ do you see Him. Not your tree, but His.

You shall not climb up and ascend to Him by your own sacrifice and suffering, but He descends and comes down from heaven to you, in order to sacrifice Himself for you and for all. He comes down, in order to be lifted up in death upon the Cross, and to raise you up in and with Himself in His Resurrection from the dead.

You, therefore, come down from the heights of your own efforts, so to be raised up with Him in His righteousness. Come down from your precarious perch, for He has come down to abide with you, a sinner though you are, in order to bear your sin and be your Savior.

So does salvation come to this house, and to you.

Receive Him gladly, for He comes to you by grace, with mercy and compassion for you, with free and full forgiveness for all of your sins.

By His sacrifice of Atonement for you, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Him. How so? Bear the Cross of Christ in your life, in faith toward God and in love toward your neighbor.

Be rich toward God in fear, love and trust, but small before Him in the humility of repentance. Likewise, be small in your own eyes and in your estimation of yourself, but be rich in your love for one another.

So is God glorified in you, and you in Him, according to His grace toward you in Christ.

So may He count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness in you.

And so may you reprove the ruthless and seek justice for the oppressed, for the wee little men, women and children, the least, the last, and the lost. Be not proud, but defend the widows and the orphans, speak up for the silent unborn, and visit the sick and the dying. Share the tribulations of your neighbor. Help to bear his or her burdens in love.

And in the midst of suffering and sorrow, take up the Cup of Salvation, and call on the Name of the Lord. Thus may you and your neighbor wash your robes and make them white in the Blood of the Lamb. For, see, He has come with salvation to abide with you here in this house of His. He has sought you out to save you, and He has made His House your home.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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