29 April 2011

The Lord's Body on the Lord's Day

This is the Day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Not just another day of another week, another day of grace on earth, but here gathered in the Name and the Remembrance of Jesus Christ, the Crucified, we enter upon the eternal Eighth Day of His Resurrection from the dead.

Therefore, not just “Friday,” but “Easter Friday,” because in the Gospel every day is Easter, and in the Divine Service it is always the Lord’s Day.

Thus, it is the dawning of a new day for you, a new beginning, in which the mercies of God are yours, regardless of your past.

If that all sounds like so much nonsense, or ridiculous, remember the Word that Jesus has spoken to you, and do not doubt that He is faithful and true. He has gone the way of the Cross, for you and for all, just as it was written of Him, and just as He said before it happened. And God has raised Him from the dead as the Firstfruits of the New Creation.

As He bore your sins in His Body on the Cross and died for you, so His Resurrection is your Absolution, your reconciliation with God, your justification, your newness of life and eternal salvation. As He lives, so do you.

Why, then, do you so often seek the Living One among the dead? That is to say, why do you attempt to find your life in the pursuits of the world, in the pleasures of your mortal flesh, in that which is temporal, fleeting and perishing? Why do you tend to put more stock in your own wisdom, experience and feelings, than you do in the Word and promises of God in Christ Jesus?

All your silver and gold, and everything it buys, will be destroyed before long. Your beauty and your strength will fade, and your mind may go before your body, or vice versa, but it will all pass away. Your possessions will rot, your name and reputation will eventually be forgotten among men, and whatever you manage to accomplish and achieve will be undone, replaced or superceded.

The empty tomb will someday house your mortal remains, but you’ll not find the body of the Lord Jesus there.

It is the Body of the Lord Jesus that you need, because it is in His Body of flesh and blood that He has borne your sins and tasted death on your behalf, and in His Body that He has defeated them once and for all. It is in His Body, like yours, that He has risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity, immortal, imperishable, and glorious. It is in and with His Body that He not only lives, but He gives life and health and strength to all the faithful.

Do not doubt that He gives life to you, to your body and your soul. And do not be terrified any longer by your sins, nor by the shadow of death that lies upon your mortal flesh.

For the Son of Man, crucified and risen, is still delivered into the hands of sinful men — not to be crucified or put to death ever again, but for you, Christian, to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of all your sins, for life and salvation.

In this Sacrament is where the Body of the Lord Jesus is found, where it is given and received, and where His Blood of the New Testament is poured out, so that you shall not die but live.

This is the Lord’s Day, just as He has spoken, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Taste and see that He is good, and go home from here in His Peace.

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

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