Like A Little Child

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Therefore it is for the children. The child is small and knows he is small (that is all that Jesus singles out in the child; He says nothing of his innocence, loveliness, or charm); the child is always looking up to persons greater than he; he cannot ever forget how small he is, and he has not yet learned to deceive himself into the belief that he is as big as anybody. The child receives. Children are the world’s best askers and beggars; they are the world’s best accepters of gifts and receivers of presents. – The finest characterization of our Lutheran Confessions is Schlink’s, who says that they breathe the air of child’s delight at having received a gift. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Humble himself” – a child does not make himself smaller than he is; he knows how small he actually is. That is why turning, being converted, is a turning to childhood. That is why greatness comes to the childlike. The emptiest receives most; only he will be great for whom “greatness” has lost all meaning, for whom only God is great, as only God is good. God is Creator, and he works ex nihilo. He puts Himself into selfless lives; He pours the wine of His gladness into empty cups; He fills empty hands; He justifies the ungodly and raises the dead. When the brazen idol of our greatness has melted before the blaze of God’s greatness and lies a little pool to reflect God’s glory and the glory of our lord Jesus Christ, then we shall have begun to be Christians, then we have become at least apprentice theologians.” ~Martin Franzmann

Lord God, from whom all blessings flow and fill us with undeserved goodness, mercy and love, we give you thanks and praise. As we begin this week may we remember the goodness that flowed from your Son’s pierced side, the mercy extended to all mankind, and the everlasting love spoken “Forgive them.”  May we walk as your beloved children and be found faithful in all that we do and say to the glory of Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


April 1 Make Me See Your Passion

Image by Robert Rognlien III

Image by Robert Rognlien III

Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20;  Luke 9:28-50;  Psalm 73:1-28; Proverbs 12:10

“While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am going to tell you:  The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”  But they did not understand what this meant.  It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him.”

Luke 9:43-45

This week is the Passion week of our Lord.  It began with the remembrance of His entrance into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey.  It includes Jesus’ teaching in the temple to enthralled crowds of eager listeners.  It will highlight Jesus last meal with His disciples, the prayers in the garden and finally the arrest, trial and crucifixion.  Year after year we remember, yet do we really understand the depths of His woe?

Jesus I will ponder now

On your holy Passion;

With your Spirit me endow

For such meditation,

Grant that I in love and faith

May the image cherish

Of your suffering, pain, and death

That I may not perish.

* * * * *

Make me see your great distress,

Anguish and affliction,

Bonds and stripes and wretchedness

And your crucifixion;

Make me see how scourge and rod,

Spear and nails did wound you;

How you died for those, O God,

Who with thorns had crowned you.

* * * * *

Yet, O Lord, not thus alone

Make me see your Passion;

But its cause to me make known

And its termination.

For I also and my sin

Brought your deep affliction;

This the shameful cause has been

Of your crucifixion.

* * * * *

Grant that I your Passion view

With repentant grieving,

Let me not bring shame to you

By unholy living.

How could I refuse to shun

Every sinful pleasure

Since for me God’s only Son

Suffered without measure?

* * * * *

If my sins give me alarm

And my conscience grieve me,

Let your cross my fear disarm,

Peace and pardon give me.

Grant that I may trust in you

And your holy Passion;

If his Son forgives anew,

God must have compassion.

* * * * *

Jesus, Lord, my heart renew,

Let me bear my crosses,

Learning humbleness from you,

Peace despite my losses.

May I give you love for love!

Hear me, O my Savior,

That I may in heaven above

Sing your praise forever!

Open my eyes and my heart, O Lord, to all Your Holy Passion.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.