01 May 2015

At Home and at Peace with the Father in Christ

Your heart is troubled, restless and anxious, because you are longing for your home; which is really to say that you are longing for real life with God, for peace and rest and a home with Him.

You are troubled because, despite that anxious longing of your heart, you find yourself wandering and wondering, curious, and confused about it all.  You don’t know where you’re going, nor do you recognize the way.  Your experience of mortal life in this fallen world is that you are a stranger and alien, separated from God, lost and alone, far away from any true home, all on account of sin; because of your doubts and fears, and your denial, disobedience, and rejection of God’s Word.

But now, take heart, dear child of God.  Be at peace, and do not be afraid.

Your home is where Christ Jesus is, and fear not, He is with you.  He has prepared a place for you — by His Incarnation, by His Cross and Passion, and in His Resurrection and Ascension.  Indeed, Christ Himself is your Place where you belong.  His Body, crucified and risen, is your true Home, your Life and your Salvation with His God and Father forever.  All of this, not only in your heart and soul, but first of all in your ears, and then also in your mouth and in your body.

Already here and now you are at home with God in Christ Jesus — by His grace alone, through faith in His Word.  And so shall you be at home with God hereafter, forever and ever, in Christ.

By His Incarnation, He has come close to you, and He has become like you in every way, save only without sin.  He has perfectly united God and Man in Himself, in His own Body of flesh and blood.

And by His Cross and Passion, in His own flesh, by His holy and precious blood, He has undone and rectified the separation of sin, so that you and all mankind are reconciled to God in Him.

In His Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father, He has raised true man to eternal life with God — in the flesh — in righteousness, holiness, and blessedness forever.

In all of this, by the Word and work of the incarnate Son, you behold the true heart, the gracious good will, and the divine glory of the Father.  Thus, you know and love and believe in the one true God and Father by this way and means of His beloved and well-pleasing Son.

How, then, do you know the Son and believe in Him?

It is by the preaching of His Word, and by the works that are done in His Name.

Indeed, the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ do the same and even greater works than He once did; because they are sent to preach and perform, in His Name, the accomplished Word and work of His Cross, and thereby to distribute the fruits and benefits of His Resurrection from the dead.

They preach heaven on earth.  They preach God the Father in His Son, Christ Jesus, and so also the blessed life and forgiveness and perfect peace of His Holy Spirit, through the Holy Gospel.

As we thus remember and give thanks for the Holy Apostles — for St. Philip and St. James on this day, in particular, although we know so very little about these two men — we remember and give thanks for Christ Jesus, our Savior; and in Him we know and love our Father in heaven.

For the whole Christian Church, the House of God, is built upon the foundation of the Holy Apostles, and Christ Himself is the Cornerstone who gives shape and stability to the whole.

You live and abide within that House, and so do you live and abide with Christ in God, by the Word and work of the Apostolic Ministry: by the same preaching and performance of the Gospel.

It is by that Word and work of the Gospel that God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, abides with you in love; and by faith in the Gospel, you abide with the Holy Triune God in peace and hope.

It is by faith in His Word, and not by sight, because you live and walk by the way of Christ the Crucified through this dark valley of sorrow and tears unto your eternal home in heaven.

So do you carry the Cross in your vocation as a Christian, baptized into Christ Jesus; you suffer and die, as did Christ Himself and His Apostles, in the same faith and hope of His Resurrection from the dead.  You wait upon the Justice of God the Father, who will certainly raise you also in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, who has become your Advocate and your Kinsman Redeemer.

For now, you live in the wilderness, surviving on the water of oppression and the bread of privation, irrespective of your temporal circumstances.  But you do survive, nevertheless, in the household and family of God, within which your Teacher makes Himself and His Life known to you through the preaching of His Word and by His gracious work.

You know where you are going, and you actually do know the Way; not because you have found it or figured it out for yourself, but because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, and He has found you.  He has sought you out, and He still does, by the Ministry of the Gospel, in order to gather you to Himself and bring you to the Father in and with Himself, in His Body and His Blood.

Believe it.  For He has already gone the way of the Cross on your behalf, and by it He has opened the Way of Life with God for you.  Your sin no longer separates you from God, nor does it prevent you from knowing and going to Him.  Rather, in Christ, you are already safely at home with Him.

Let not your heart be troubled.  Eat the Bread of Christ the Crucified, with which your Father feeds you here at His Table in His House.  Recline yourself here, and put your mind and body at ease by His Word and Spirit of the Gospel.  Eat and drink what He gives and pours out for you, and rest yourself in His Peace.  For you are His dear child, your sins are all forgiven, and this is your home.

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

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