No Goodbyes

Furthering thoughts for April 16th 2019

It’s always difficult to say goodbye. I remember as a child, my family and I would travel to South Korea to visit all our extended family lived there. It was a time of joy as we ate, laughed, played, and simply had a great time with family. But the saddest part of our trip was to say goodbye. As a child, I was very sad because I knew a whole body of water was separating us. I learned that long distance is never an advantage. Even now, to this day…

For the disciples, it was difficult for them to wrap their minds around this great paradox. They wanted Jesus close and they wondered how His departure could be an advantage. “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you”[Jn16:7].

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in me, concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer, concerning judgment, because the ruler of the world is judged” [Jn16:8-11].

This is the work of the Holy Spirit. And though Jesus would soon die on the Cross for the sins of the world, it is in His leaving, His exodus, His departure, that the Holy Spirit is sent to us just as the Lord had promised [Acts1:8].

As we say time and time again, and I urge you to continue to repeat, repeat, and repeat even more the Apostles Creed. Ever opportunity you have, in the morning, at night, on your drive, at lunch, at a red light, in the check out line, repeat repeat repeat. Because in the Creed, we have the treasured answer to the question, “What does it mean to believe in God?”.

In the Third Article of the Creed, we confess, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”. In other words, what we are really confessing is that [as it reads in the AC ArtIII explanation] “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith”.

It is to our advantage as the Holy Spirit creates faith in each and everyone us by the Word of God. Because of sin, we play no part and are unable [Rm3:23]. In our brokenness, the Spirit calls us..convicting us of our sin and pointing to the work of Christ and His merits for the forgiveness of sins. By the power of the Word, we are enlightened by the gifts, namely the Sacraments of Holy Baptism [Mk16:16] and the Lord’s Supper [Mt26:26-28]. Therefore, we are sanctified, “Holyfied”, by His very Word given to us. And now, as we continue on in this road of faith, we pray that the Holy Spirit keeps us by His very Word.

There are no goodbyes with Jesus, for just as He promised “I am with you always until the end of the age” [Mt 28:20b] He is!

Amen.


A week to remember

Furthering Thoughts for April 14th 2019

“This is a week to remember”.

Memories. Since Abe has now accustomed himself to the front seat of the car, I have found that our conversations have been more profound. But when I go down memory lane, and I say phrases such as “When I used to be in college”, or “back when I played music”, or “when I was your age”, I am [nine times out of ten] met with an eye-roll. I know in his mind, Abe is saying, “here we go again”.

And yes, I tell him what I’ve been through, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve seen, the experiences I’ve had, and though that might be met with an eye-roll, they are told to teach him something about the life of faith. And as a parent, you always prayerfully teach your children the way of God and His Word [Eph6:4, 4th commandment, God’s representatives].

But looking back, as we head into Holy Week, this is week to remember. A week to instruct your children about the most critical event of humanity’s history. A look back to the faithful Christ who “comes to our aid to save our lives”. And though many would reject Him, “crucify Him, crucify Him”[Lk23:21], “God still does not turn against us. He comes with new life for us on Easter, and those who receive it are saved from hell and eternal damnation”.

Remembering the grace of Lord who stood in our place, a place that no else could stand but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who came to die for us. Dwelling upon His mission, we are so thankful for the mercy of God, humbled that He would send His Son, the lamb of God [Jn1:29] for us.

From then, till now and forevermore, it is the work of Christ in His death and resurrection that we are His. “[Jesus] who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death”[Apostles Creed Art III explanation].

Why did Jesus do such things? “so that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom..” [AC ArtIII expl.]. This is a week to remember, From then, till now, and forevermore, we dwell upon His Work and trust in His promises that we are His.

A blessed Holy Week to you all!

+PrJeong