Collect of the Week
O God, You have prepared for those who love You such good things as surpass our understanding. Cast out all sins and evil desires from us, and pour into our hearts Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all blessedness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Galatians 3:27 (From last Sunday’s Epistle Reading)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
In the name of + Jesus.
Have you ever grabbed a t-shirt from your dresser drawer, thinking that you knew which t-shirt you were putting on, only to find out later—maybe even when someone pointed and laughed!—that the t-shirt you had on was not the t-shirt you thought you had on? You know, like if I were to pull out a red t-shirt from my drawer, thinking I was putting on one of my many Cardinal t-shirts, and then head out to the game, only later to be asked why I had worn my Nebraska Cornhusker t-shirt to the Cardinal game. How embarrassing that would be.
The Word of God for this week has asked us to consider the evil in this world that masquerades as the truth. And in some ways, this is a bit like putting on the wrong t-shirt, and not knowing it. You know you have a t-shirt on—that’s good! And you know it’s red. But you wonder why everyone is giving you a strange look, because, unbeknownst to you, what you’ve put on is not what you thought you had put on.
When we give in to the evil of this age, we’re wearing the wrong t-shirt, so to speak. We may think we’re picking up reasonable views. The rhetoric of the age uses terms like love, and rights, and freedom, but does it promote what God’s Word teaches? The thinking that we adopt, and the habits we form, and even our attitudes toward others might be socially acceptable, but oftentimes they end up being contrary to the Word of God. And what’s worse, the world doesn’t have the decency to tell you that you’ve put on the wrong t-shirt.
When you were baptized, you were baptized into Christ. The old passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). In Galatians, St. Paul says this is like putting on Christ, in that you are clothed and covered with Him. He is what you’ve put on, and what you put on each morning as you remember your baptismal identity as one of God’s own children. And because you know that, in the Gospel, that Christ has covered you, and given you a new identity, you won’t walk around as if you’re wearing something else.
You see, remembering that we’ve been clothed with Christ affects how we live, and move, and have our being. It means that you will wake up each morning, and in repentance and faith, you will crucify the sinful desires, and you will live in your baptism, wearing Christ in your thoughts, words, and deeds of service to your neighbor.
Isn’t it nice to know what you’re wearing? In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen (LSB, for Life as a Baptized Child of God).