Reflections: Thursday of the Second Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Romans 12:6-16

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 47:1-14, 21-23; Romans 9:19-33

  

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty. (Romans 12:15-16a)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. COVID. Mask mandates. Vaccinations. Earthquakes. Fires. Hurricanes. The Taliban. Afghanistan. Wars. Rumors of wars. Critical Race Theory. The border. China. Russia. Defund the police. Cyberattacks. Global warming. I could say, it’s all going according to plan (Matthew 24:6-14). Still, there’s enough fear going around, it can get anyone lost inside themselves. 

What to do? Here’s what to do: Listen to your pastor. Listen as he speaks the words of Holy Absolution to you. Those words were purchased for you by Jesus’ death for you on the Cross. Listen as he preaches the Gospel to you. Jesus was crucified for you, erasing the distance between you and God. Listen as he points you to your Baptism, where Jesus daily preserves your status before God as holy and righteous. Listen as he brings you the Body and Blood and says, “For you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Pray the liturgy. Sing the hymns. Go home again with the peace of God given you in the Benediction.

Your heavenly Father never asks you to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps. He knows you can’t. He knows you are a child. But He also knows you are His child. It’s what the Gospel is for. It’s why God not only gives you the Gospel, but also leaves the Gospel with you. The Gospel is not only for eternal life, it’s for this life as well. 

For with the Gospel, God not only frees and brings you to Himself, He frees and brings you to your neighbor. That’s what Paul is writing about today. Let God play the role of God, while you play the role of neighbor. He’s got this. With those who rejoice, rejoice. With those who weep, weep. He’s got this. With those who fear, point to the hope God has promised all of us in Jesus. He’s got this. Abhor evil and cling to the good. He’s got this. In tribulation, be patient. And pray. He’s got this. Bless, don’t curse. He’s got this. Find a way to outdo others in showing love and honor to all. He’s got this. 

And, best of all, through thick and thin, He’s got you, too. That’s the promise of the Gospel. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Christ, our human likeness sharing, Heaven’s love on earth portrayed; Christ, the Shepherd, tending, caring, In His death our ransom paid: Christ, the Savior, Christ the Servant, Be your love in us displayed. (“Christ, Our Human Likeness Sharing” LSB 847, st.1) 

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

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch