Reflections: Saturday of the Second Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Introit for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Psalm 97:1, 10-12; antiphon: v.6, 9)

Daily Lectionary: Joel 2:1-17; Romans 11:1-24

For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad. (From the Introit for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I have a friend who had asthma as a child. He tells how, when he would suffer an attack in the middle of the night, his father would convert one of their bathrooms into a steam room by turning on a hot shower and closing the door. He would then hold him in his arms and gently rock him while saying, “Breathe.” “That always helped,” my friend says. “After that, I would always breathe a little easier.”

With all that is going on in the world today, it’s easy to start thinking that you’re suffocating. By pointing to Jesus, tomorrow’s Introit encourages you to breathe. Everything is under control–His control. That’s what it means for Jesus to be at God’s right hand. That’s theology, not geography. Politicians and armies do not rule. Plagues and viruses are not in control. Mother Nature does not reign. Nor does fate. Chance. The devil. Or anyone or anything else. Only Jesus does. Breathe.

Even sin, our own sin, including the unbelief that whispers, “God is not in control!” does not rule. Seeing all of our unbelief and sin from the moment we were conceived to our final breath, God put it all on Jesus when Jesus died on the Cross for us. You are forgiven everything. You stand before God, now, holy and righteous, His child. And God will not allow anything in all creation to end in the suffocating of His holy and righteous children (Romans 8:28).

“Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name” (Psalm 97:12). In other words, “Breathe.” Live in the glad confidence that Jesus is always with you. He is not gone. He just hides His power sometimes behind this world’s trials and troubles (Isaiah 45:15). But He’s still there. And you are still baptized. Still absolved. Tomorrow you will hear again the promise that by the Cross of Christ God still declares you His concern, His righteous child. You will even eat and drink the Body and the Blood, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” And though everything around you changes, God’s promises never will. Breathe. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest upon His unchanging grace; In ev’ry high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand. (“My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” LSB 575, st.2)

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

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Pastor-psychiatrist duo Rev. A. Trevor Sutton and Dr. Brian Smith have teamed up to help you evaluate your technology use through a Christian perspective. Learn how to form healthy, faithful technology habits with Jesus at the center. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.