Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--For Wednesday

Collect of the Week (Proper 20-C)
O Lord, keep Your Church in Your perpetual mercy, and because without You we cannot but fall, preserve us from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Genesis 2:1-10 (From the Bible Story Lectionary)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.  3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Catechism: The Creed—The First Article
What is the First Article?
            I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?
            I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.
He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house, and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.
He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.
All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
This is most certainly true.

In the name of T Jesus.

He was finished, and the earth was complete.  The entire creation was in place, well-ordered, and working as He had given it to work.  Now He could rest.

In the Old Testament, the people of God were commanded to observe the Sabbath in likewise manner.  In Exodus, we read, “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death” (Ex 31:15).  By their resting, they were to recall God’s work of creation, and rest in the peace of knowing that the Father who created all things, will protect, preserve, and provide for them.  Sabbath was given as a day for God’s people to remember His work and His promises.  Sabbath was a gift.

Fast forward to the time of Jesus.  The Sabbath had been turned from a day of rest—a gift to ponder and consider the promises of God—into another legalistic demand by which the Jewish leaders could justify themselves.  Take too many steps, or serve your neighbor in need, and you were guilty of breaking the Sabbath—never mind the Law to love your neighbor!  But Jesus restores the Sabbath, and returns it to its properly place among the people of God.  Jesus makes sure that we have it as a gift, and not as another legalistic demand of burden.

Just as God had finished His work of creation before He rested, so too, Jesus finishes His work of redemption so that there can be rest once again.  What was once good, and well-ordered, and working the way God had given it to work, was in need of restoration and redemption from the its corruption.  And so Jesus accomplishes that redemption.  He is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary.  He lives a life of perfect love toward God, and in never-ending love towards His neighbor.  Legalistic regulations won’t stop Jesus from fulfilling the Law of love, and serving His neighbor perfectly.  In Jesus, the entire Law of God is fulfilled, including even the command to rest.

And now, because of Jesus, Sabbath is once again the gift God had given it to be.  For whether you take the day to work in the yard and spend time with your family, your rest is found in hearing the promises of God in Christ.  Because of Jesus, we don’t observe the Sabbath by being lazy, or making sure not to do “too much” work.  We keep the Sabbath holy by treating God’s Word as holy and sacred.  We keep the Sabbath by setting aside time each week to have Jesus placed into our ears through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel.  We keep the Sabbath by being in the Father’s house, where He feeds us with the body and blood of His Son.  For true rest comes not in stopping our work, but in hearing and believing the promises of God in Christ.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  You work hard, and life brings burdens upon you.  So whatever you have on your calendar this week or next, remember the Sabbath, and in His Word of promise, Jesus will give you the give of rest, as you have peace in His promises.

In the name of T Jesus.

We praise You, O Lord, for the day of rest that our bodies need. We exalt You, O Christ, for the eternal rest that You have won for us! Amen (TLSB, p. 15).

Daily Prayer (For Wednesday)
We pray…for marriage and family, that husbands and wives, parents and children live in ordered harmony according to the Word of God; for parents who must raise children alone; for our communities and neighborhoods.

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