Kruiz edited
Kiss the Son
Monday of Lent 4
1 April 2019
The faculty of speech distinguishes humans from the other creatures. Their heavenly Father communed with Adam and Eve and spoke with them in the Garden in the idyllic days before the fall. They shared a theological colloquy in the afternoons while they strolled in the Garden. He shared Himself with them, disclosing Himself to them in speech. They glorified Him in return by saying back to Him what He was saying to them in the divinely-directed catechesis. Their speech was, like His own, a making-so. When the other creatures were brought to him, Adam named them as God directed him, and "Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name" (Gn 2:19). His speech had the power of proper naming. The animals were incapable of naming themselves. Adam had been endowed with the power of communing and making speech. So God required of man that he should use his mouth to bless and not to curse, to forgive sins that they would be forgiven in heaven, to speak life to a fallen world, to proclaim the Word of God, that those suffering from the fear of death would be granted peace.
There is no way to silence this Word. The enemies of the Word made flesh tried to shut Him up by seeking His death. They thought that His power to open the mouths sealed shut by speech impediment or political pressure could be snuffed out by crucifixion. They wanted to show His power over life to be a sham by taking power over His life. When His body was found to be missing they whispered about the tale that his mortal remains had been stolen by the frightened disciples. Is there no end of political spin? The living Lord came to breathe into the frightened disciples the office of saying away sin and death, so that after the Pentecost they proclaimed a life so indestructible that they were able to speak away death; raising the dead, healing the sick, and preaching the good news to the poor. No one was able to silence them. Now the One who spoke of the divine peace had multiplied Himself on the lips of uncountable disciples, all taught by the apostolic Word. The Lord reestablished the edenic colloquy, so that none would say to his neighbor, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Him, from the least of them to the greatest. For He will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin no more. (Jer 31:34).
Killing the Word of God spread the Word of God into the world. For the mouth whose spittle loosened the tongue of the dumb poured forth the saliva which would loosen our tongues to speak for Him. From the hand that touched into sight the blind man, there poured blood to mud Calvary's dust, which would forever be placed onto the eyes of those who came to look upon life. And they would see God. What drooled and dripped onto that barren hill caused life to spring up. The mudslide caused by the torrent of water and blood opened death's havens which could no longer hold their dead. He who cried out in dereliction gave us the power to sing the praise of His death. Now our mouths long to kiss that body, with which He feeds us in the Supper of His body. How we long to kiss the Son, and take refuge in Him.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

  Ephrem the Syrian
"Those who crucified Him supposed that when our Lord was dead that His miraculous signs died with Him. But His signs manifestly continued to live through His disciples; that the murderers might know that the Lord of the signs was living. Beforehand His murderers made trouble, crying out that His disciples had stolen His corpse. But, afterwards, His signs performed through His disciples troubled them. For His disciples, who were supposed to have stolen the dead corpse, were found to be raising to life the dead corpses of others. But the ungodly were terrified and said: 'His disciples have stolen His body;' that they might be held in contempt when it would be discovered. But the disciples, whom they said stole the dead body from the living guards, were found to be assailing death in the name of Him who was "stolen;" that death might not steal the life of the living. So then, before He was crucified, He gave the deaf the power of hearing, that after He was crucified, he opened all ears that they should hear and believe in His resurrection. For beforehand He confirmed our hearing by the word of the dumb whose mouth was opened, that the mouth should not doubt concerning the preaching of the Word.
"Our Redeemer was in every way equipped that in every way He might rescue us from our captor. For our Lord did not merely clothe Himself in a body, but also arrayed Himself in members and in garments; that through His members and His garments, they that were afflicted with plagues might be encouraged to approach the treasury of healing, that those who were encouraged by His mercy might approach His body and those who were dismayed by fear of Him might approach His vesture. For with one woman her fear allowed her merely to approach the hem of His garment (Mt 9:20); but with another, her love impelled her even to approach His flesh (Lk 7:37-38). Now by her who received healing by His garments, those were put to shame who did not receive healing from His words; and by her who kissed His feet was rebuked those who did not desire to kiss His lips."

 Ephrem the Sryian, On Our Lord, 13
Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Lord Jesus, let me kiss Your body through the sacrament of the altar, that I might receive life from Your body slain for me. Amen.

For Bobby Vollman, that the Lord Jesus would give him complete healing from cancer surgery
For David Sebits, that the holy angels would surround his bed and that his heavenly Father would continue to send His blessings to him
For all Christian pastors as they progress through Lent, that they might lead their people to Calvary through their own cross bearing
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2019
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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