Wednesday, September 2, 2020

September 2, 2020— Wednesday prior to Pentecost 14 – Proper 18

Ezekiel 33:7-9—The Lord told Ezekiel that He would restore Jerusalem, yet this did not remove Ezekiel’s obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent. Likewise, we who live in the post-resurrection time, when Christ has restored mankind by His death and resurrection, have an obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent, that they may partake of fellowship with God.

Ezekiel is summoned as a watchman and the watchman's task is to announce impending danger. God's intention is not for God's people to die. While the house of Israel is surely threatened with death, God offers repentance and assurance that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. To choose to live is to choose to turn back from evil. This verb, "to turn" is used repeatedly in this passage as a reminder of the physical understanding of repentance.

The last Sunday in October we will celebrate Reformation. Everyone is familiar with Luther nailing the 95 theses on the castle door in Wittenberg. The first theses reads, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Luther was not acting out of arrogance. There was no “holier than thou” attitude with him. In humility he realized we all need to turn to the Lord seeking mercy, clemency, grace.

The entire Christian life is that of repentance; turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian’s continual focus.

Almost 30 years later, on February 16, 1546, Luther’s last words, written on a piece of scrap paper, echoed the theme of his first thesis: “We are beggars! This is true.”

From his first thesis to last words, Luther lived at the foot of the cross, where our rebellious condition meets with the beauty of God’s lavish grace in the gospel—a gospel deep enough to cover all the little and massive flaws of a beggar like Luther and beggars like you and me.

Grant, merciful Lord, to Your people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Prayer from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

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