In the month of October, we celebrate the Reformation and focus on the implications that the cross offers to us. What are the blessings and benefits of the cross of Christ? There are many. Let's recall what they might be.
There is now forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation! In Jesus Christ, all sin is forgiven - period! That is the battle cry of the Reformation. That's what our Lutheran faith is all about. As the catechism so clearly reminds us, "where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation." These are the gifts and blessings which have been offered to us through Jesus Christ through His innocent suffering and death. Because of a cross and an empty tomb, we are a free and forgiven people.
Jesus was cut off out of the land of the living. When the Son of God entered this world He took upon Himself all your embarrassments, all your disappointments and regrets. All the sins you've only realized later much to your shock and appall, Jesus suffered all.
Jesus came neither to impress you nor to be impressed by you. He came to save you. He took your sins as His, only to suffer and die in your place. He received the punishment you deserve, so you won't have to be afraid.
Have you ever felt conflicted in your spiritual life? Gone from great to little, from high to low? Behold His cross. And understand; He knows and understands your every sorrow. And see how He has taken it all away; all away to His grave. He died for everything that pains you, for on the third day He rose victorious from it all. In the glory of this His resurrection, He declares and pronounces, that you are righteous before God's heavenly throne, that your sins are forgiven, that the gates of heaven are now opened to you. You are forgiven. You are free.
What is the reality of this forgiveness, this freedom, and life? "That I might be His own and live before Him in His kingdom and serve Him in righteousness, innocence and blessedness." Jesus is raised from the dead. When He died, death died. When He died, sin's sting and power died. When He died, Satan's grip was weakened. Jesus now lives throughout all eternity to bless me, to guide me, to forgive me, and to direct my life.
What is my response to all this? "To thank and praise, to serve and obey Him." The Father has given you these and so many other precious gifts. Your response is to serve Him all the days of your life. Bask in His forgiveness. Serve Him with vigor and virtue. You have been born to be a blessing. Bless God by being a blessing to others!
A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper, we implore You, the work of farmers, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.