The Moon and the Stars
January 4, 2020
“Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?” Luke 2:49
from the Daily Lectionary in Lutheran Service Book, Luke 2:41-52
At the Temple.
Where else could the most important events in the life of Israel occur?
Zechariah the priest offered prayers; he heard the divine word that the Forerunner of the Messiah would reside in the sanctuary of Elizabeth’s womb. Simeon and Anna welcomed the Messiah at His Temple.
And the One named Jesus — for He will save His people from their sins — was presented at the Temple. Where else would He have been in order to save His people? Who is surprised that the Savior appeared at the Temple at the Passover?
Mary pondered all those words and events until she understood them … as the sword pierced her soul and the nails and speak pierced her Son. Then she believed, even as we know.
He must be in His Father’s House. Why? Because that is where the Son does the work of His Father. In the House the Father’s Word is heard and believed; in the Father’s House the sacrifices are offered. As the Son of the Most High He heard His Father’s Word in the Passover: blood saves My people. So in His Father’s House the Son must do His work: offer the Passover blood to save the people. And this Son knows that His blood will make the Passover different from all others. His blood, as the priest that traces His lineage back to Adam, will be shed for all nations, so that the wrath of God passes over the sins, and so that the House is recognized as the House for all nations.
The Passover of the Son, presented before the Father, has cleansed you of your sin. He has sanctified you as priests, prepared for His service and offering yourselves as living sacrifices. You have passed through the veil, that is, His flesh, to enter the Father’s Presence. You are not beyond the walls or in an outer court. You have been brought into the Most Holy Place.
You must be in the Father’s House, for that is where His children are found; we are gathered by the Spirit to receive the holy communion—Christ our Passover has been sacrificed; and we are gathered as we are being built into the Temple in which He dwells by His Spirit.
Holy Father, receive our lives, our days, abilities, and offerings as the sacrifice of faith, for Your Son have purchased us to be Your own and live with You in Your House. Amen
January 1, 2020
Sing Sing Sing
from LSB Daily Lectionary, Luke 1:57-80
I don’t think that Louis Prima’s “Sing Sing Sing” was influenced by Luke’s account but every one seems … wherever they are … to be singing with zeal and joy to the spirited beat of God’ grace.
In Heaven the angels sing over the repentant.
In Elizabeth’s house Mary sings about YHWH’s mercy and strength.
In Elizabeth’s house … again … three months later the neighbors rejoice at the birth of the child John.
At the Temple the disciples blessed God. (How can you bless God and not sing?)
In Elizabeth’s house … again … the walls echoed with singing; this time Zechariah’s voice was blessing YHWH.
For nine months the words of hope and expectation had been stored in his heart and mind … impounded behind divinely sealed lips … waiting to burst forth in a jubilant flood. The God of Israel unloosed his tongue and Zechariah knew then how to move his lips … not to utter words of doubt or disbelief but offer words of praise and thanksgiving. What else should the mouth of man be used for except for its created purpose: to speak to God and of God those things that He has said and done to us and for us. The Spirit that had breathed life into Adam now exhaled a song of blessing from Zechariah. In the ear goes visiting and redeeming and being merciful and delivering and all the other enlivening verbs of God and out of the mouth comes what God has ordained: praise. Because of a babe (in utero) and an infant born His name is majestic in all the earth.
Zechariah teaches us (and he would teach the world’s nations) to sing among people that lament and weep and cry. Weep with other weepers, and mourn with other mourners; for there are timely songs of sorrow. And in exile songs of joy weakly crawl out of dry throats … our tormenters revel in our misfortune. Yet weeping lasts for the night but the joy of singing heralds the new eternal day. The song of this sunrise is already on our lips … tombs have been opened and living words rush out … not only when we join in the morning Benedictus but as the light throughout the day shines on us
… as He remembers His holy covenant in the blood of Jesus
… as He visits us in the communion
… as on oath He is just and righteous to forgive our sins
For not at the name of John but at the name of Jesus Our Father opens our lips and our mouths declare His praise. Our voices in their confident chorus resonate with and are joined to the praises of Zechariah and Mary and the neighbors and the disciples and yes even the host of Heaven. And we, being delivered from the mute grave, will sing of Him with joy, in holiness and righteousness before Him now and forever.
Almighty eternal God, we heartily implore You, grant that we may know and praise You as did Zechariah; for we have been visited by Your mercy and redeemed by Your Son Jesus. Now grant us grace to serve You all our days; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen