Wednesday, April 27, 2022
The Lord's Prayer is also found in the Small Catechism. It is the third part, following the Ten Commandments and the Creed. In the Ten Commandments, God gives us a mirror in which to see our sin. In the Creed, God gives us His Son in whom to see our righteousness. And in the Lord's Prayer, God gives us His ear.
The Lord's Prayer contains seven petitions (the perfect number) together with an introduction ("Our Father who art in heaven") and conclusion ("For Thine is the kingdom...").
What if there could be a near-perfect sermon on the Lord's Prayer? A sermon that wasn't too long, wasn't too short, and made you want to pray the Lord's Prayer from all your heart.
I think that maybe that sermon exists. Found in the Small Catechism, it covers each of the nine parts in a way that is both simple and rich. For example, it says about "But deliver us from evil":
"We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven" (emphasis mine).
How much that means to me!
Pray the Lord's Prayer. And for the near-perfect sermon on it, turn to the Small Catechism.
Thursday, April 7, 2022
"Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).
On Christmas Eve we love to sing "Silent Night." What many don't realize is that Holy Week gives us a Silent Day. And that day is Wednesday.
The Gospel has plenty to say about the first Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. It even mentions Holy Saturday, the Sabbath, on which our Lord rested in the tomb. But about Wednesday the Gospel says nothing - not a word. This is surely intentional on the part of the Holy Spirit, and full of meaning.
The fourth day, the middle day, of Holy Week is a day of silence. The lesson? The words and works of Jesus are essential, and so is a period of silence in which to reflect upon them deeply. But often this silence and stillness is missing from our lives.
Richard Wurmbrand wrote: "We are victims of a plot against silence, without which no spiritual life is possible. We are subjected daily to the noise of cars, trains, planes, radio, TV, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, fans, etc. I have known Christians who have spent years in solitary confinement in complete silence. When they once again heard humans speak, they wondered that so much of their speech lacked content. If you wish to reach God, create some silence around you. Switch off the many intruders on silence. Enter your closet, or teach your loved ones to be quiet at certain hours."
Turns out that Holy Week comes complete with a day for being quiet - for being still, and knowing that Jesus is God in the flesh, and blood, for our salvation.
Wednesday, Holy Week's silent day. Amen.