To the members of Faith: With no service yesterday morning, let's really look forward to Wednesday's Divine Service (6:30 p.m.). In addition to the Word and Sacrament, we'll receive two new members. A little reception will follow the service. And a reminder that the New Member Class starts tomorrow (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.) and is open to members as well. God bless you and this week's small devotion!
There is a prayer found in the Bible, and you can pray it, but the answer will always be No. The Lord's Prayer ends with "Amen," meaning, "Yes, it shall be so." But for this prayer you'll need to find a different word, because, "No, it shan't be so." Jesus says about the Father, "Whatever you ask in My name, He will give it to you" (John 16:23) - with one major exception: the one prayer God always answers No, as in, No way, absolutely not, not in a million years!
Here is the prayer: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8).
The dear Lord Jesus Christ says No to this prayer. A gentle, but firm, loving No.
Peter was one part right and one part wrong. He was right to confess himself a sinful man. That was true. No argument there. But how was he wrong? Very! He was wrong about Jesus who came for the very purpose of getting close to sinful people.
How does this apply? You're a Christian, baptized, righteous in the eyes of God because of Christ. But what about in your eyes? You remember sins, you still see sins in your life, you still sin. And you will think like Peter and try to send God away. This often shows up in thinking, "I can't go to church. I shouldn't go to Communion!"
But do you know what that's like? It's like saying to the doctor, "I shouldn't come see you right now, because I'm sick. And that medicine you want to give me, let's wait on that till I'm better."
Listen. You go to God in the very moment you think you should go away. Go to His Word, Sacraments, Church, and Cross. Because the very reason you think God should go away from you is the very reason He doesn't and won't. "I made you, I redeemed you, I make you holy. I love you. And so the answer is No, I will not depart."
No has never sounded so good, so completely the Gospel!
And it may be that this one No is like all the other Yeses put together.