Collect of the Week
Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Galatians 6:14 (From Last Sunday’s Epistle Reading)
14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
In the name of + Jesus.
Chances are, if you grew up in a household with Christian parents, you were taught not to brag. Most non-Christians even sense the off-putting nature of boasting in one’s own accomplishments. Bragging, or boasting, or talking about your own accomplishments just isn’t something we’re encouraged to do.
And this is why I enjoy using this passage as a blessing whenever I have an opportunity to participate in the ordination or installation of a pastor. I also enjoy speaking this passage to fellow Christians, because I know, deep down inside, all of us have a desire to boast. And so, this passage may come as a bit of a surprise—even a pleasant one!—to those of us who have been taught that boasting is never desirable.
Pastors, go ahead and boast! In fact, boasting is something you should do often, and with great zeal. And to my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, who daily serve the Lord in through your holy vocations as you serve in your homes, and at work, and in your neighborhoods, go ahead and boast! Even more, be zealous about your boasting. But boast only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
A pastor who boasts of Christ will be a pastor who preaches Christ. Christ crucified for sinners will be the one common thread in all his teaching and preaching, and through that Gospel, the Holy Spirit will build up the Church.
And people who boast of Christ will be people who bear witness wherever they go. People who boast of Christ’s death on the cross as their hope and strength will be a light in the world of darkness. A people who boasts of Christ will look at the temptations of the world, and say, “Christ did not die for anything!” I have a Savior. Christ is His name. And the world, though it offers me everything, has nothing that will last. All I have is given through the cross of Christ!
And what happens when pastors and people are boasting of Christ? They won’t be talking of themselves. They’ll be too busy bearing witness to the one thing that matters. When temptation is avoided, they’ll give thanks, and they’ll boast in Christ. When service is rendered to their neighbor, they’ll know that the cross is what taught them to do it. When another is baptized, or brought to repentance, or strengthened to face the difficulties of this life, it will be because of the boasting of what Christ freely gives through the cross and empty tomb.
So if you’re boasting in the cross of Christ, it’s okay, go ahead and boast. And may you be zealous in your boasting. In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
Dear Lord, Jesus Christ, by your suffering, death and resurrection, you destroyed all evil, and opened to us the way of everlasting life. Teach us, by Your Spirit, a spirit of humility, that we might never be proud of ourselves, but be always boasting of what you have done for us on the cross. Amen.