08 December 2010

Let It Be

The world with all its greed, all its pride, and all its stuff is perishing. It is broken and falling apart because of its transgressions, which end in death. The Lord will bring down its lofty heights and boastful pride, and all the kings of the earth will relinquish their thrones to Him.

The only true and lasting life is from and with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You do not have that God as your Father, and therefore you have no real life, apart from His Son as your Lord and King.

No one has the Father apart from His Son, but neither do you have the Son unless the Father give Him to you — and give you life in His Name.

The world can neither create life nor preserve it. The world, as God's creation, can only receive life from His hand, as He gives it by grace. The world can then share what God provides, or withhold His gifts and horde them, or waste them and destroy them.

The world cannot create life, but it is able to destroy life on account of sin. Abortion is a most poignant example of that tragic condition of fallen man. For the world itself is dying, and it bears the fruits of its own sin and death.

The Lord punishes sin with death, because sin is the rejection of life, and to live in sin is already to die, even while you live.

According to both His justice and His mercy, therefore, the Lord punishes sin with death, in order to put sin itself to death, to end its reign of terror over all the children of Adam and Eve.

For the Lord remains the Author and Giver of Life, according to His own divine eternal Life and Light and Love. He puts sin to death, in order to raise His good creation to newness of life; in order to justify, redeem, and sanctify His creation. He puts sin to death, in order to recreate Man, in particular, in His own divine Image and Likeness. The male and the female, as the king and the queen of His creation, He makes brand new in Christ Jesus, the beloved Son.

The Lord brings about this New Creation, He makes all things new, and He recreates Man in His Image by the speaking of His Word — "Let there be!" — and by the Incarnation, the becoming flesh, of His Word. All of this by His grace, out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in any of us.

For the sake of His Son, the Father loves you. And for the sake of His Father, the Son loves you. And by and with and through and in the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son love you — and give you Life.

Thus, you have found favor with God, for the sake of the Father's only-begotten, well-beloved Son. And by that Son, the Father speaks to you in love, in grace, mercy and peace.

By His speaking, the Lord is with you. Do not be afraid.

He spoke to the Blessed Virgin Mary uniquely, in order to work in her by His grace for the salvation of the world through the Fruit of her womb.

He spoke, and it was so! The almighty and eternal Son of God, the very Word by whom all things were made, became flesh of Mary's flesh and blood of Mary's blood. And from her body, He took His own body.

Conceived and born of her, He who is true God from all eternity, begotten of the Father, also became true Man, your brother in flesh and blood like yours, sharing the same human nature as you have from your parents.

The fertilized Egg from St. Mary's ovary, the tiny Embryo conceived in her body, the growing little Fetus in her womb, He is the very Son of God, of one divine substance with the Father; He is the Word of God made Flesh; He is the very Image of God, in which you are recreated; He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; and He is your Savior.

This is no work of man, but the gracious gift of God. St. Mary does not choose this gift, nor does she make it happen, but she simply receives what God gives. The fact that she receives it in faith is likewise the gracious gift and good work of God.

In St. Mary's faith; in her "Amen" to the Lord's Word; in her humble trust and submission; and in her fiat — "Let it be" — you see and hear the fruits of her own dear Son, her own Lord and Savior, borne in her no less miraculously than He Himself is.

This is the beginning of the New Creation: in the Incarnation of God the Son, conceived in St. Mary's womb, and in St. Mary's faith, in her prayer and confession, and in her faithful life within her vocation.

In this Blessed Virgin, who by God's grace became the Mother of God, you are given a beautiful Icon of the Lord's Holy Church, for which this most highly-favored Lady can rightly be perceived as a royal Queen.

Eve's disobedience is reversed in St. Mary's obedience of faith. And Adam's abdication of headship and dominion is reversed in the gracious Lordship of Christ Jesus, the new and greater Adam, the Son of God and Mary's Son, who is the promised Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and both King David's Son and David's Lord.

Here, then, is how He heals your hurts, reverses your fall, undoes your death, and delivers you from sin and every evil:

Not only does He become true Man of flesh and blood, but born of a woman under the Law, He submits Himself to the Law, to all of its demands, its judgments and its punishments. He bears upon Himself the Law's righteous condemnation of the whole world's sin, all the while He keeps and fulfills the Law perfectly for you and for all the other sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.

He suffers the curse of the Law and the consequences of that curse, namely, your death and damnation.

The Immortal Son makes Himself mortal, in order to suffer and die.

The Second Adam returns with His own Body of flesh to the dust of the earth, to the ground from which the First Adam was taken.

The Almighty and Eternal One makes Himself small and weak and utterly dependent.

He humbles Himself and is obedient, even unto death upon the Cross. Thus He descends into the depths of your sin and death. He enters the bowels of Sheol.

All of this He does — for you and for all, by divine grace — in human flesh and blood — in the original and perfect faith of the Father's beloved Son.

He obeys the Father's good and gracious will, because He fears, loves and trusts in His God and Father above all else.

And His Father does not fail Him, nor forget Him. He does not abandon His holy and beloved One to the pit. He does not suffer His Son's Body to decay in the grave. But He raises this Lord Jesus, the Son of Mary, from the dead.

He exalts the One who has humbled Himself for you.

He fills up and satisfies the One who has hungered and thirsted for righteousness.

He bestows His Kingdom upon this One, His royal Son, who has been faithful in all things, a true Man with God's own great heart of love.

In His raising of St. Mary's dear Son from the dead, God the Father has set Him upon the throne of His Father David forever, to reign with the righteousness of God, which exercises mercy, compassion, forgiveness and salvation.

This true King justifies sinners by His own Cross and Resurrection. Thus, when He judges you with His Law and thereby puts you to death, it is in order to raise you from the dead with His Gospel of forgiveness, redeemed from sin, death and hell, reconciled to His God and Father in heaven, and perfectly righteous with His own royal righteousness.

He speaks — and it is so! He comes to you in grace, He favors you in love, He embraces you in peace.

He gives Himself to you, by and with His Word and Spirit, but so also in His own flesh and blood for your body and soul, your heart, mind and spirit. He lays hold of your mortal flesh with His Word of Absolution, with His preaching of the Gospel of forgiveness, with His good Spirit, and with His own Body, in which He has swallowed up death forever and ever.

With His free and full forgiveness of all your sins, death and the devil can no longer oppress you. With His righteousness credited to you, Satan cannot accuse you of anything, because you are not guilty but righteous.

In fact, you are a royal brother or sister of this King, a son or daughter of His Father, and so a prince or princess of His royal court. And here in this place, upon this Mount Zion, in the midst of this true Jerusalem, on earth as it is in heaven, the Lord of hosts has prepared a lavish banquet for you — a royal wedding Feast for His holy Bride, the Church.

The same flesh and blood He received from St. Mary's body, and offered as a sacrifice for your Atonement on His Cross, He serves to you from this Altar, His Table in His House, as the choicest Meat and the finest Wine.

Each Lord's Day and Festival Day, when He feeds your Body with His own, and He mingles His Blood with yours, even as He breathes His Spirit into your body through your ears and gives you life, He removes the veil of death from over you and glorifies His Name in you, both body and soul.

Though the world is perishing and passing away, and though your mortal flesh is returning to the dust, you have within your body, in your belly, the Lord your God, Yahweh Sabaoth in the flesh, your Savior and your King.

As surely as He is risen from the dust of the earth, and lives and reigns to all eternity — in love for you! — so surely are you raised, in and with Him: Daily through the forgiveness of all your sins, and at the last, in the resurrection of your body to the life everlasting, when you shall be like Him, immortal, imperishable, and all-glorious.

With the Blessed Virgin Mary, then, open your mouth to sing, "Glory to the Righteous One." Exalt Him, give thanks to His Name, and magnify the Lord your God. You have waited for Him. Behold, He comes. Rejoice and be glad in His Salvation.

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

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