Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pentecost 22

Readings: Psalm 23 (sermon text), Isaiah 25:6-9, Philippians 4:4-13, and Matthew 22:1-14.

God is chasing you, wanting something you don't want to give Him. He wants your full devotion and heart, not just the major part of it. We flee, unwilling to give our lives and souls and freedom to Him. But look at the Psalm - goodness and mercy will literally "pursue" you. He wants as well to remove our sin through this chase. Agents include Christian parents, longsuffering friends, praying strangers.

We are His people, and not our own. Even as His children, though, we forget the abundant gifts He gives. The world can cause us to doubt the existence and presence of the love of Jesus. Has He moved on? No, says faith. Our hope lasts forever and is absolutely certain that He is with us as individuals! That changes us from a worldly, hopeless viewpoint. We see the chase differently.

God's hounding, perfect love drives all fear out of us. No enemy cannot be banished by Christ's rod and staff. "Do not fear; I have overcome." He is with us forever, walking with and carrying us. Such a good Shepherd would never abandon His beloved sheep. In addition, He is the active agent in the Psalm - He leads, walks alongside, and pursues me! He came to give us abundant, strong, overflowing life, the fruits of faith. Therefore nourish yourself on the life-giving, forgiving Word of God, Christ Jesus. Then, as you walk on the "paths [lit. wagon-tracks, very visible and straight] of righteousness," you will be surely guided toward heaven.
All my American readers in particular, thank God for guiding Columbus this day as well.

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