Today’s Reading: Introit for the Eight Sunday after Trinity
(Psalm 48:1, 3, 11, 14; antiphon: vs.9-10)
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 8:1-22; Acts 21:15-36
Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! (From the Introit for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We recoil at a God who sits in judgment of our actions. It’s so hard to reflect on those vulnerable moments of our past without explanations to go along with our mistakes. Those excuses are called self-justification. We want to add something to our actions to make them seem less wrong. An excuse. A blame directed at someone else. A reason why. We try so hard to justify ourselves that the idea of being judged skips right over terrifying and leaves us either despairing or furious. But it’s not a question of if we will be judged. We confess it in the creed. On the Last Day, the Son will come again to judge the living and the dead. I didn’t read anything about Jesus’ taking into account our excuses, either.
Still, we can’t help it. We self-justify like we breathe. We dive into every awful day and insist that our explanations for what happened change what actually did happen. We’re chasing after a favorable judgment. We’re trying to find a way to hear the word “judgment” without cringing. That won’t come from excuses. That will only come from the Gospel.
Only within Mount Zion, within God’s temple, do God’s judgments become something other than a need to justify your sins. They become a source of joy. Within Mount Zion, we hear that the Lord’s judgments were rendered against the Son upon the Cross. He has judged Him guilty of all your sin. He has judged you innocent, righteous, and holy. Your self-justifications are laid down, and your cross is taken up. Your excuses are cast aside for forgiveness. Let Mount Zion be glad!
This is why we preach and sing in the temple. It isn’t a chance to earn points with God that we can cash in for heaven. It’s to tell, over and over, of the Cross where the judgment happened. Of what it looked like. Of whom it’s for: you. You have been judged innocent. We think on that steadfast love. We praise His righteousness for us, and not our own. The Cross silences our excuses and leaves judgment as a hope and not a fear. This is our God, forever and ever. Never will you be judged. Always, Jesus is your justification. Let the daughters of Judah rejoice! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
He blotted out with His own blood The judgment that against us stood; For us He full atonement made, And all our debt He fully paid. (“The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” LSB 634, st.2)
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch