God My Enemy
Monday of Epiphany 4
30 January 2017
"When God Becomes My Enemy" seems an impossible title for a book written by a faithful Christian. We expect relations between ourselves and our God to be one of eternal and perfect concord. Strife between me and God? Never. Yet, this is the title of a book by Ingvar Floysvikon the complaint Psalms in the Bible.
 
Sometimes God does seem not to be our friend but our adversary. We feel forgotten by Him, as though we are meeting a stern rebuff from Him. We wonder if He has turned His back on us. Even what we take to be God's silence sometimes is meant to be meaningful to us, just as an inappropriate question from a child to a parent might remain unanswered. That silence is itself an answer to the question. Sometimes, God's answers to our prayers and petitions are not the ones we want. For example, childless couples pray for children, but are left to grieve for the children they cannot conceive and to rage when they see a child treated carelessly by those who have received the gift of a child. "God, I thought you were on my side. Why are you acting like my enemy?"
 
Mary, the mother of our Lord, felt a stern rebuff from her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at the wedding of Cana. When they were out of wine, she pointed out the lack to Him. He replied in a prickly kind of way, as though to say, "Keep your nose out of my business, woman." Should a son speak to a mother that way? Maybe not. But sometimes God speaks to us this way. And though He was her Son, He was also her God and Lord. She knew it too.
 
Look at how she responds to this rebuff. She quietly turns to the servants and instructs them to do whatever he tells them. She swallows the rejection with faith. She will not believe what she feels, but rather she believes what God has told her about this Son, the Holy One of God. He can take care of things and she need not set the time or way for him to do it. This is the faith of the Christian, to take what God is sending and to believe that it is nothing but for our good and blessing. Lord, give us Mary's faith!
 
"The highest thought in this gospel lesson (Jn 2:1-11), and it must always be kept in mind, is that we honor God as being good and gracious, even if He acts and speaks otherwise, and all our understanding and feeling is otherwise. For in this way feeling is killed, and the old man perishes, so that nothing but faith in God's goodness remains, and no feeling.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"For here you see how Jesus' mother retains a free faith and holds it forth as an example to us. She is certain that Jesus will be gracious, although she does not feel it. She is certain also that she feels differently than she believes. Therefore she freely leaves and commends all to His goodness and fixes for Him neither time nor place, neither manner nor measure, neither person or name. He is to act when it pleases Him. If not in the midst of the feast, then at the end of it, or after the feast.
 
She says, "'I will swallow my defeat, His scorning of me, letting me stand disgraced before all the guests, speaking so unkindly to me, causing all to blush for shame. He acts sour but He is sweet I know.' Let us continue in the same way. Then we are true Christians." 

Martin Luther, Church Postil, Second Sunday after Epiphany
John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
 
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it.
 
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (ESV)
Prayer
O Christ, give us Mary's faith, that we might receive Your stern replies by looking to Your promises and denying to our fear and weakness the power to overwhelm us. Keep us ever in Your Word that we might reply to our quailing hearts with the sweetness of the gospel. Amen.
 
For the elders of Memorial Lutheran Church, that God would grant the sabbath rest of his Word to them
 
For Donna Oster, who is suffering from chronic lung problems, that she would receive strength for every day
 
For David Hawk, that he might experience a full recovery from a cardiac episode
Art: MANETTI, Rutilio  Wedding Feast at Cana  (c. 1620)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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