Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Time and Eternity

New Year’s Eve
December 31, 2009
Luke 12:35-40

The Gospel reading for the last day of the year has a pretty straightforward message to Christians: be ready. Be aware that your Lord is coming again in glory.

What can easily be lost is that it has a remarkable message about our Lord. We need to be told to be ready. Jesus doesn’t need to be told to do anything. What the Gospel reading does though, is tell us what our Lord does. It’s not what He needs to do. It’s not what He’d better do or else.

It’s simply what He does.

What He does is serve. What He does is what we ought to do. Not that we no longer need to do it since He does. But His serving us is what make it possible for us to serve Him.

We are in this life for a short time. We’re about to enter a new year and not only that but it’s hard to believe that another decade has gone by. We are very much in time. God is outside of time but comes to us in time. He comes to us in this life to serve us.

The Gospel reading says that He will dress Himself for service and then have us recline at the table so that He can come and serve us. He dressed Himself for service by becoming a baby. He took on the role of servant by keeping the Law of God perfectly, something we have not done. He has come to serve us by going to the cross to suffer the punishment for sin and the wrath of God toward sinners.

We may recline at His table. We may feast at his Banquet. He will serve us what we need. We don’t serve Him in this life in order to earn heaven. He serves us in this life so that we may enjoy the glories of heaven eternally.

This helps us understand what it means for us to do what God calls on us to do in this Gospel reading. We wait. We stay alert. We’re needing to be prepared for the day when Jesus returns in glory. But that doesn’t mean that we sit around. It means we involve ourselves in the things He has called us to do. We serve in the various ways God has called us to serve. Remarkably, Jesus is always the one doing the stuff He has called us to do. He’s serving us. He’s bidding us to recline at His Table, so that we may be forgiven, so that we may be washed clean with His righteousness, so that we may partake of His very Body and Blood.

He is in eternity but He comes to us in time. He longs for us to be with Him in eternity. He comes to us so that we may be with Him in eternal life in heaven. Not eternal death, not eternal suffering in hell. If we are not prepared that’s where we will land. That’s why He tells us now. So that we know now. So that we don’t find out when it’s too late.

So notice what you are to do. And then notice what He does. Notice that your being ready, your serving, your abiding by His will is possible because of Him serving you. Never hear His call to you to do His bidding as anything but His loving act of reaching out to you so that you may know that you will be with Him forever in eternity. If you ever do doubt, just look to what He has accomplished on the cross in the ultimate serving of mankind. Know that Him serving you in time in this way has eternal ramifications. Know that He blesses you in Baptism and His Holy Supper here in time so that you may be with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom in eternity.

You will be waiting for many things in the new year. Test results from the doctor, your loved ones to arrive during bad weather. You will get ready for many things. Some in our congregation will be getting to get confirmed in the faith. You might be getting ready for a new job or a new area of serving in your life. God will guide you in these things, He will serve you by giving you the strength you need. In all of the things you will face in the coming year, don’t forget the one Jesus focuses you on in the Gospel reading: His return in glory. Be ready for that by partaking of those ways He comes to you to serve you: His Word and Sacraments. Amen.


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