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Psalm
35:19-28


Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit. They open wide their mouths against me; they say, "Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!"
 
You have seen, O LORD; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me! Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord! Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me! Let them not say in their hearts, "Aha, our heart's desire!" Let them not say, "We have swallowed him up."
 
Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether who rejoice at my calamity! Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me!
 
Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, "Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!" Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. 
(ESV)
Our Holy Cross
Tuesday of Holy Week
22 March 2016
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself prays the third petition of the Lord's Prayer while in the agony of death, "Thy will be done" (Lk 22:42). He asked not to be rescued from His agony if that meant that His Father's will would be thwarted. No, He faced death and its sin-sodden agony knowing precisely that His cross was sent by God, His loving Father. To have avoided the cross would have been to thwart the will of God. For it is in this death, suffering, and holy cross that life was to be given. At just this moment, when the eternal Son was in the deepest agony, when He faced the trial of the cross, when the devil was on the loose prowling about and in slavering syllables showing our Lord His cross and exulting in His weakness and abandonment unto death, just then the Son of God prayed that He would do the will of God.
 
To do the will of God is always to slog upstream against the world's easy ways. To do the will of God is to risk all, to risk being cut off from the land of the living, to be trampled under the onslaught and senseless rage of Satan and all his evil angels. And yet in this cross there is victory. Oh, not victory as the world knows it. That is Satan's easy victory in showing up the weakened Son of God; it is the foolish capering of those who can mock the strength made perfect in weakness. The Son of God triumphs under the hiddenness of the cross, under the shadow of a reviled victim's body cast across Calvary by a sun made reluctant through grief.
 
If it is so of the eternal Son of God, so shall it be for the sons of God. When we pray "Thy will be done," we are shouldering our cross and suffering. Anything else would be to thwart God's will. If God's will is done among us, then Satan will rage and revile and attack the holy gospel among us. Thus the weakness of the church under the onslaughts of the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh will always be the sign of the holy cross and the life of Christ within her. If we pray, "Thy will be done," let us be ready to receive in faith what God sends, and take up our holy cross.

 

Martin Luther

"If we would be Christians we must surely expect and count on having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies (Mt 25:41; Rev 12:9). They will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where God's Word is preached, received, or believed and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be missing (Acts 14:22). And let no one think that he shall have peace (Mt 10:34). He must risk whatever he has upon earth-possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life. Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam (Eph 4:22). The test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience (Jam 5:7-8) in whatever way we are assaulted and to let go whatever is taken from us (1Pt 2:20-21).
 
"So there is just as great a need, as in all the other petitions that we pray without ceasing, 'Dear father, Your will be done, not the Devil's will or our enemies' or anything that would persecute and suppress Your holy Word and hinder Your kingdom. Grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured because of Your Word and kingdom, so that our poor flesh may not yield or fall away because of weakness or sluggishness.'"  

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.65-67
 
Prayer
Our Father, break and hinder every evil counsel and will that would not let us hallow Your name nor let Your kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh. Instead, strengthen and keep us steadfast in Your Word and in faith until we die. This is Your good and gracious will. Amen.
 
For Charles Wokoma who is teaching in Nigeria, that he would be kept safe in his labors
 
For Joy Golden, who is recovering at home, that the Lord would grant her a full recovery of health and strength
 
For the faculty of Memorial Lutheran School, that they would be faithful to their calling as Lutheran teachers
 
For all military personnel stationed in harm's way, that they would be kept under the care of all the holy angels

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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