Sunday, December 30, 2012
Luke 2:29-32 “Lord, now you are letting your servant departin peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen yoursalvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” What aprayer Simeon prayed after He beheld the infant, Jesus! He longed to see Israel’s restoration. He believed he would see it. Israel’s restoration did not come in the form many others expected—an armed force kicking out the Romans, a mighty King traipsing into the palace knocking Herod off his throen. NO, restoration, salvation came in human flesh, the Word became flesh—and stayed that way. The babe who lay in a manger and, that day, in Mary’s arms is also God the Son from eternity past and future. He is the second person of the Trinity, having two natures—divine and human. So we,too, make Simeon’s prayer our prayer every time we return from the Sacrament of the Altar. Jesus, in and with and under bread and wine, gives us His body and blood. In this testament, we see His salvation. No, the elements don’t change their substance while maintaining their earthy appearance. You can’t cut the bread and see what particles are Christ’s body and what parts are wheat. But, people can and do doubt our Lord’s promise, that He gave when He institute the feast we share each Lord’s Day. People can and do say it’s only symbol or ememberance. Bah! Jesus didn’t and doesn’t lie about Himself or His gifts. And, we don’t just take a part of his salvation with us each time we receive His Sacrament or hear His Word. Nope, it’s always the whole thing. So, when we behold Him, in full confidence of His grace, we are ready to die. Not that we feel ready or that we want to be ready. The Lord, through His Word and Sacrament prepares us to die. Through His absolution, He forgives our sins. Through His Supper, He forgives our sins just as, at our Baptism, He forgave our sins. When forgiveness happens, part of us does die—our old Adam. It’s a little death but a necessary death because nothing immoral or impure can enter the kingdom of heaven or survive its foretaste. Because Christ has conquered death, then, He promises to bring all who trust in Him through it free of sin and its fall-out. But, as prepared/ready as Christ makes us to die, He most of the time has further service for us to do for others. So, He does bid us go in peace. His Word is fulfilled objectively forever and individually for each one of us. WE may not comprehend that peace, like its some feeling or twinge within our gutt. WE still worry about kids, bills, and health. But, it’s a peace that bids our fears and doubts to cease. It’s our Savior’s peace that welcomes us into our heavenly Father’s care through His son’s intercession. Peace with God means that we can pray to Him with boldness and confidence in the name of Jesus, our Savior. So, trusting in His promise, we bid our Lord to dismiss us from His table in peace and blessing. He sends us into our world for more service to one another or to death and His welcoming embrace in heavenly bliss. Either way, His Word has been fulfilled for us.