Reflections: Saturday of the First Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Introit for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany (Psalm 66:1-5, 20; antiphon: Psalm 66:4; 92:1)

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 37:15-28; Romans 6:1-23

All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name. (From the Introit for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Tomorrow’s Introit calls out at four times the promise of the Gospel, that “all the earth” is included at the Cross, that “all the earth” has been scooped up by God and reconciled to Him by the blood Jesus shed for all upon the Cross, and that “all the earth” belongs to its rightful Maker again–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“Come and see what God has done” (Isaiah 66:5). That is the essence of true worship. God does not want to be worshipped by our showing Him works in exchange for His love. All we can offer God, even with our “righteous deeds,” are sins (Isaiah 64:6). That’s a harsh judgment, not shared at all by the world around us. Nevertheless, it is the judgment of God’s holy Law (Romans 3:23).

God wants to be worshipped by your seeing and receiving the works He does for you. He sent Jesus to the Cross for you, with all your sins. Jesus died for you, for all your sins. Jesus rose for you, with all of your sins answered for in His death for you upon the Cross. Now Jesus comes to you in His Word, in His water, and at His Supper with all the promise and blessing of His Cross, declaring you holy in God’s sight, His child, an heir to eternal life.

And while it may seem a huge overstatement when tomorrow’s Introit cries out, “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you,” don’t be fooled by what you see all around you. I know, it doesn’t look that way and it seems that God has been left out of the picture. But you and I also know this: “All the earth” is included at the Cross, has been scooped up by God and reconciled by the blood Jesus shed for it, and it belongs to its rightful Maker again. That means even the craziness and evil of this world must, and will, serve only the plans and purposes of your heavenly Father. What Gospel! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

The world’s remotest races, Upon whose weary faces The Sun looks from the sky, Shall run with zeal untiring, With joy Your light desiring That breaks upon them from on high. Lift up your eyes in wonder—See, nations gather yonder From sin to be set free. The world has heard Your story; Her sons come to Your glory; Her daughters haste Your light to see. (“Arise and Shine in Splendor” LSB 396, st. 3-4)

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch