Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Midweek III

Advent Midweek III
“The Light of Christ Scatters the Darkness of Anxiety and Fear”
December 16, 2009
Text: Matt. 6:25-34

Our Lord Christ commands us, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25; ESV). Perhaps He is not aware that there is a recession. It seems there is much to be anxious about in these times. The one who has a job is anxious about whether or not he will keep it. The one who has lost his job is anxious about finding another one and providing for his family. Job or no, we are anxious about the stuff of this life: our mortgages, especially with the ever rising foreclosure rate; whether there will be enough money to pay the electric bill; whether the family car will make it another year; whether we will be able to retire in comfort. And even those who would seem to have enough money not to be worried about the bills have plenty to be anxious about. The funny thing about money is, the more you have of it, the more you worry about it. Abundance does not put the fear of lack to rest. And of course, money is just one example. There is much to worry about in this life. Our health, terrorism, war, violence, fire, flood, famine, blizzards, tornados, the list goes on. Worry and anxiety give birth to fear. Fear is an intensified form of worry and anxiety. Fear is the strong emotion that overcomes us when we believe we are in immanent danger. On our own in this fallen world, there is much to cause us anxiety and there is much to fear. There is danger around every corner in a world inhabited by sinners and held in captivity by the devil. But dear Christians, tonight there is good news for us. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the Light no darkness can overcome. And the light of Jesus Christ, the Light that is our Savior Jesus Christ, scatters the darkness of anxiety and fear.

Did you know it is a sin to worry? It is a sin to worry, to be anxious, because it betrays our lack of faith in our heavenly Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ. Do you really believe that God will fail to take care of you? You are not on your own in this fallen world. Let all the sinners and all the demons of this fallen creation attack you. It is true that you are weak and helpless on your own. But the Lord God who has redeemed you fights for you and sustains you. It is true that in this fallen world we suffer. It is true that in this fallen world there are recessions and job losses and lack of money and food and clothing. It is true that in this fallen world there is poor health and terrorism and war and violence and natural disasters. Do you really believe that God is unaware of this? And, beloved in the Lord, do you really believe that the God who sent His own Son, Jesus Christ… do you really believe that the Son of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, who shed His blood for you and died the accursed death for you on the cross as payment of your sin, do you really believe that He will ever forsake you? By no means! As Paul writes, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Not only is worry and fear sinful, it is unreasonable, illogical for the child of God who knows he has a gracious heavenly Father, a loving and merciful Savior, and the very Spirit of God.

As a Christian, you ought to commend your anxiety to God, pray for your daily bread, and be satisfied with the same. Be satisfied, content, with whatever He gives you. For that is the secret of happiness. Be happy in God and content with His gifts. Leave all the worrying and anxiety and fear to Him. He will take care of everything. Jesus tells us to take a lesson from the birds and the grass. The bird sings his song of praise to God in the morning without giving any thought to his breakfast, and then flies off to eat the kernel of corn that God has tucked away for him (Luther). The grass stands around all day doing nothing, yet God clothes it in the glorious raiment of a flower. So glorious is its appearance, it lifts the heart of its beholder and magnifies its Creator. And the point, of course, is not that you shouldn’t labor, for God has commanded through the Apostle Paul, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). But the point is this: How much more valuable are you than birds and grass? Do you see the folly of anxiety and fear? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. You know, the many hairs you lose daily without taking any notice? God notices every little hair you lose, so great is His love and care for you. Anxiety cannot add an hour to your life, though it may rob you of many years. But every moment of your life is written in God’s book, and He alone can preserve you and provide for you.

And the sure sign that He desires and will preserve you and provide for you is the cross of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4). Do not let the full import of those words be lost on you. The Light that is our Savior, Jesus Christ, breaks in on this world of darkness and death. The Light of Christ breaks in on your sin. Christ breaks in on your sin, even your sin of anxiety and fear, and takes it as His own and nails it to the cross. The high price for your forgiveness, your redemption, is the blood of the Son of God. If God is willing to pay that price, the Son of the virgin’s’ divine blood, for you, then surely you are most precious to Him. Let not the troubles of this life drive you to fear. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus Christ. Alone. Fore He rules all things, and He rules them for your good.

We Christians know all this, but it is so easy to forget in the midst of trial and tribulation. We know in our heads that we should not worry, but our hearts convince us if we don’t worry the world will cease to turn. God is in control; not you. God provides for you; not money. He feeds the birds. He clothes the grass. O ye of little faith, do not be anxious. Do not worry about tomorrow. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. The Kingdom and the righteousness are yours freely in Jesus Christ. And you are in Christ, baptized into Him. And He gives you here tonight the pledge and token of His righteousness in the holy Supper of His body and blood. The Light of Christ breaks in here in this place to scatter the darkness of anxiety and fear. Bask in that Light. Receive His gifts. Prepare to receive Him who comes to you in the Name of the Lord. Prepare by repenting of your anxiety and fear. Prepare by turning to Him alone for forgiveness and mercy and help. Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Tonight He gives you what is most important: His Son. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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