Today’s Reading: Ephesians 3:13-21
Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 9:1-21; 1 Timothy 5:17-6:2
[Give] thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Well, that’s a pretty big request, isn’t it? We’re really supposed to give thanks always and for everything? There’s nothing that we shouldn’t be giving thanks for? This is hard to believe, and perhaps even harder to practice. Think about all the awful things in the world! Are we really supposed to give thanks for suffering and hardship? It is easy to give thanks for money and nice stuff. But what about the difficult things?
St. Polycarp, as he was being burned at the stake in the year 155, blessed the Lord and thanked Him that he was found worthy to share in the cup of Christ. He did not pray for immediate deliverance from his afflictions, but gave thanks that the Lord had already provided the escape. Quite simply, nothing can harm you if you are in Christ, not even persecution. You can give thanks for everything all the time in the Name of Jesus Christ.
The key here is to give thanks in the Name of Jesus. Apart from Jesus, life is meaningless and full of suffering. Without Jesus, your life ends in death and that is that. But your life is lived in the Name of Jesus Christ. This Name was placed upon you in Holy Baptism, and Jesus goes where His Name is placed. Think about the life of Christ. His family rejected Him. He was stricken, smitten, and afflicted. He was betrayed by His friend and abandoned by His disciples. He was put to death in His early 30s in the worst way possible. If that were all, it would have been a meaningless waste.
But Jesus did not stay on a Cross or in a grave. He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father! So yes, you can give thanks for everything all the time, no matter what. Try it. You cannot die and you cannot be harmed. The Cross of Jesus has been given to you, and with His Cross comes resurrection. This is a difficult teaching, but so is the Cross. Yet, this is all we’ve been given. Give thanks. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch