Kruiz edited
Let's Risk It
Friday of Lent 2
2 March 2018
Christ the High Priest ordains priests anew for service in His priestly kingdom with baptism. They are anointed to the priestly office by baptism into the things of the High Priest. His death and His life become the priestly possessions of those whom He anoints. They are then able to sacrifice their own life and offer their own death for the sake of others because they are losing not their true life or dying their true death, which they hold from the High Priest. They suffer every loss without any loss whatever. They die without losing life. They live without becoming subject to death (2Co 6:8-10). Both life and death remain irrevocable gifts from the High Priest, so much so that the priestly life is established in Him alone. The priests are then free to risk life, death, wisdom, service, humiliation, purity, and whatever other gifts are received from the High Priest at the need of the world.
 
The gifts that God bestows upon priests are at bottom both ours and not ours. They are ours as our raiment in the presence of God. The divine gifts of grace are like the priestly garments taken from the sacristy and used to cover human filth and sin, making the priest prepared to speak and act on behalf of His Lord the High Priest. The Lord Himself donates the coverings. Those who don them recognize that they have the privilege of their glory from the donor, not from themselves. They are ours because the divine donor gives them to us.
 
We priests also recognize that our service to others is simply to confer what the Lord has conferred first on us. We then give away what is not ours. Our gifts are most properly His. We are only instruments of delivery in the hands of the true giver. Through His donation, we become trustees of the most valuable foundation of grace. Whatever is of good comes from the one who established the foundation, and we have the privilege of giving it away. We are giving what is not our own. What fun it must be to deliver the largesse of a major non-profit foundation. There must be great joy in giving away what is not yours in the first place. Yet this is the joy of every priest who has been baptized into his office by Christ. If we do not feel that joy, then we don't fully understand what we have been given to give away.
 
Like Christ the High Priest we are free to give away the form of divinity, by emptying ourselves and never becoming empty, by being filled up but never becoming full of ourselves. We are all equally children of God in Him and are all nothing. There is nothing to get puffed up about, when all is a gift. Now for the sake of others everything can be risked. Let's risk it.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"We are all equal, and we are all nothing. Why, then, does one man puff himself up against the other, and why do we not rather mutually help one another? Furthermore, if there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself. Thus, my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and is the debt I owe to them. My chastity is not my own; it belongs to those who commit sins of the flesh, and I am obligated to serve them through it by offering it to God for them, by sustaining and excusing them, and thus, with my respectability, veiling their shame before God and men, as Paul writes that those parts of the body that are less honorable are covered by those that are more honorable (1Co 12:23). Therefore, my wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed, my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners.
 
"For these are the forms of God of which we must empty ourselves, in order that forms of a servant may be in us (Phil 2:6), because it is with all these that we must stand before God and mediate on behalf of those who do not have them, as though clothed with someone else's garment, not unlike the priest, when, on behalf of those standing about, he sacrifices in ritual garb that does not belong to him. But even before men we must, with the same love, render them service against their detractors and those who are violent toward them. This is what Christ did for us. This is that furnace of the Lord in Zion (Is 31:9), that sweet mercy of the Father, who wants to tie us together with such inestimable virtue. By this badge, by this symbol, by this mark, we Christians are distinguished from all nations, in order that we may be God's own people, a priestly race, and a royal priesthood" (1Pt 2:9).

 Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 6.3
Isaiah 11:1-10

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples- of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. (ESV)
Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through our trials and troubles, that we may receive the pardon of our sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
 
For Adelin Jean Haak, who will be baptized into her priestly office on Sunday, that she might be kept in that grace until her life's end
 
For Eleanor Andree who is recovering from a fall, that the Lord would bless her with strength and a full recovery
 
For Sharon Rankin, that the Lord would grant her the peace that surpasses all human understanding
 
For Bart Day, the CEO of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, that he might be strengthened in both body and soul for his work extending the kingdom
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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