22 April 2019

The Word of Christ Brings You Home to His Body

Disciples of Emmaus, you know the things that have happened in these days, the things concerning Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His Cross and Passion and His Resurrection from the dead.  By His Cross He has redeemed you, forgiven all your sins, and conquered the power that death held over you.  And in His Resurrection, He has opened up heaven and eternal life to you and to all who believe in Him, for which He has poured out His Spirit generously upon your body and your soul.

How is it, then, that you are still so often sad?  Why should you be so angry or afraid of anything, discouraged or depressed, when Christ your Lord, the Son of God, has suffered these things for you and entered into His glory?  Knowing and confessing all that the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles have told you, why are you so foolish and slow of heart to believe the Gospel?

Here and now, in this body and life, you are making your way and muddling forward without a clear sense of where you really are or where you’re going.  The days and hours fly by, seemingly relentless, but you are living in a time between, restless and uncertain on a journey to your true home, which you can’t yet see or perceive.  Your heart, mind, and spirit are tossed about by the turmoil of this perishing world, and you are torn between death and life, between sin and faith, and between what you can and cannot see with your eyes.  You are caught between earth and heaven.

Here your senses too easily trick you and fool you, so that earthly things seem powerful, glorious, and heavenly, whereas heavenly things seem ghostly, ghastly, and hard to comprehend or bear.

You live by faith and not by sight along the way, and as such, your only real recourse is the Word of God: The Holy Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles; the Holy Gospel of your Lord Jesus Christ, as written by His Holy Evangelists; and the Word of Christ Himself, the Word made Flesh.

Avail yourself of that Word.  Speak it to your neighbor, and ask that it be spoken to you.  Confess it and pray it as you go about your days, as you rise up in the morning, and as you go to bed again each night.  In particular, give attention to the preaching of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins.

I realize that it can seem pointless and useless to “talk about Jesus” in the face of all the hurts and disappointments that wear you out and weigh you down.  If that sounds impious to say, or even blasphemous, still, you know that it can feel that way, and that you often live as though it were so.

Consider how easily you are caught up in the maelstrom of this world with all of its anxieties and countless distractions.  Think about your daily routines, and how the duties and demands of your job, your classes, your house and home, your family, and all your neighbors roundabout, consume your attention and your energies, so that you end up living and acting as though the Resurrection never happened or did not matter — even now, when Holy Week has ushered you into Easter!

There are those days when you can barely keep yourself going, one foot in front of the other; and you may not feel like talking anymore, and you really don’t want to hear it, not even about Jesus.  That’s one of the main reasons that you dare not go it alone, lest you spiral into a silence of the Word of God and give yourself over to the constant buzz, nauseating static, and deadly white noise of your own inner dialogue, which does not believe but doubts and denies the Word of the Lord.

In spite of your nagging and persistent sadness, and no matter what you may be thinking or feeling at any given point, it is in the speaking of His Word — in the conversation about Jesus — that the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Himself draws near and travels right along with you.  In and with His Word, by and with His Holy Spirit, He is actively present and opens the Scriptures to you.

He opens up your ears to hear, and He opens up your heart and mind to comprehend and believe the Holy Gospel — to hear and receive the forgiveness of all your sins, which is the solution to all your doubts and fears, the remedy to every infirmity of your heart and mind, body, soul, and spirit.

What is more, it is by and with His Word of the Gospel that He brings you home, that is, to your true home, which is the household and family of God, the Body of Christ.  On the surface it may appear that He is coming to be your guest, but then it quickly turns about that He is actually the Host who takes you in, and cares for you, and serves you at His Table with His own hand.

With His Word and Holy Spirit, in His own Body of flesh and blood, He comes to make His home with you here — in order to make a home for you with Him — already now in His Church on earth, and so also in the resurrection of your body to the life everlasting in the Kingdom of heaven.

Here then, at His Altar in His House, is the lavish Table at which He tenderly invites you to recline and take your rest, to receive and feast upon the Meal that He has prepared for you and for the many.  He takes the bread, He gives thanks, and He gives to you what everyone is looking for and needs: Not the empty tomb, and not only the news and information of the Resurrection, but His own crucified and risen Body in the Breaking of the Bread, the Holy Communion of His Supper.

That is where the whole Christian Church on earth recognizes, receives, and worships her dear Lord Jesus Christ.  And that is where you also are at home and at rest: In the Body of Christ Jesus.

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

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