Cruce Tectum

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

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday Tenebrae

Good Friday Tenebrae Vespers: “Divine Forgetfulness”[1]

April 6, 2012

Text: Psalm 130

Psalm 130 is my favorite Psalm. It is my favorite because in it I find the story of my life. Many have said the same. While Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd”) is the sentimental favorite, Psalm 130 is loved for its terse and brutal honesty. Psalm 130 is a confession of sin. It is a confession of the profound sinfulness of the one praying the Psalm, the utter corruption of the sinful nature, the abominable actual sins of thought, word, and deed that we commit against our Lord and against one another in this fallen flesh. “Out of the depths…” (Ps. 130:1; ESV), De Profundis in Latin, deep, profound, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!” Out of the depths of sin and all the misery it has caused. Out of the depths of pain and suffering. Out of the depths of disease and injury. Out of the depths of depression and broken relationships. Out of the depths of death itself. Out of these depths I cry to you, O LORD! Because you will hear my voice.

You will hear my voice because I am baptized into Christ, Your only-begotten Son. Your ears will be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy (v. 2) because I am clothed with Christ and His righteousness, covered in His blood, which He poured out for me on the cross, for the forgiveness of my sins. In Baptism, His death is my death, His resurrection is my resurrection. Your ears will be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy because in hearing me, You hear Your Son Jesus Christ, and You cannot turn Your ear away from Him.

It is true, I am a sinner, and out of the depths of my sin and degradation I cry to You. If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand (v. 3)? No one! Certainly not I. But… But! With You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared (v. 4). With You there is forgiveness, because my Lord Jesus Christ cried out to You from the depths of a sin not His own, as He was suffering in the depths of hell on the cross as payment for my sin and the sin of the whole world.

So I wait in hope for the LORD to deliver my soul out of the depths. It is a sure and certain hope with which I wait because it is founded on the sure and certain Word of the LORD (v. 5). As a watchman on guard against the enemy through the dark night eagerly looks for the first light of morning, so my soul waits for the LORD and His deliverance (v. 6). He will come. He will deliver. Because He didn’t abandon my Lord Jesus to the grave. He who suffered death for our sakes could not by death be contained. This Good Friday we wait. We wait for the first rays of light on Easter morning proclaiming what we know to be true. Jesus Christ has paid for all our sins in His death. In so doing He has conquered sin and death and the very devil. Now it is just a matter of time. The Third Day is coming, the Day God delivers His Son out of the depths of the grave. We will say it with great rejoicing, soon. We will say the word we have hidden in the depths of our heart throughout the penitential season of Lent. God raises His Son from the dead on Easter morning. We know this even as we behold Him this night hanging upon the cross. And since that is true, and since we are baptized into Christ, and into His resurrection reality, we know that in Him we have deliverance from the depths of our own grave on the Last Day, and from sin, death, and the devil now.

O Israel, O Church of God, hope in the LORD (v. 7), even on this dark night of our Lord’s suffering and death. For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption. He will redeem His Israel, His Church, from all iniquity (v. 8). He has done so by this ignominious death of God the Son on the cross. Easter is coming. Wait. Shed your penitent tears tonight for the price that won your ransom. Confess your sins. Cry out for God’s mercy. But do so in confidence. Because the LORD surely hears your voice. There is no depth too deep for Him to hear you. He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all will not abandon you. There is forgiveness with Him for the utter corruption of your sinful nature, for your every actual sin of thought, word, and deed. Out of the depths of the wounds of Jesus Christ, comes your deliverance. It’s the story of your life. God remembers your sins no more. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[1] The theme and many of the points made in this year’s Lenten series are from God’s Gift of Forgiveness (St. Louis: Concordia, 2011).

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