In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
But to those who will not seek the rest of the Lord, to those who will trust in the swiftness of their horses to escape calamity, the gas in their tanks to get them out of the path of a storm, the strength of their body or the wit of their minds to rescue them from all calamities that befall them. To them there is no rest. For them no salvation will be found. For our contrary God says, “You want to flee. Fine flee. But your pursuers will be swifter than you.” For God doesn’t want your strength. He wants your quiet trust in Him. For He is your strength.
And finding a quiet peace in Him He then sets you to watch. To be dressed and ready for action. Ready to wait for His return. For He is the master of this house of faith. The beloved Father of His house. The redeeming master of a household of beggars. He takes people who are destitute, and dying in the street, unable to help themselves, and saves them. He gives them a place in His house. Makes them trusted and honoured servants, even members of His family. He gives them the glorious raiment of His own family, complete with his coat of arms and badges of belonging.
For He chose you. He saved you. He feeds you from His own table and clothes you in the same clothing He wears. He takes care of you. So now, beggar that you were, when your protecting Lord leaves and goes away, it makes you anxious. For in His house you have found the first true rest and quiet safety you have ever known. Thus, in eager love you expectantly look for His return. Your devotion to your saviour is such that you will sacrifice all you have for Him. What is sacrificing a little sleep if it means that you will be able to joyfully greet Him when He returns? For what joy will be yours when your beloved master returns!
But then Jesus’ shifts the story. You are the master of the house, watching over all your family, all your goods, all your estate. Your wealth makes you the target of thieves. And so you must watch that your eternal treasure not be taken away. For Jesus, like a thief, is coming at an hour unknown. If you are not ready, if you have not been vigilant, if you have not held onto the treasure passed on to you by the saints who have gone before you, it will be taken from you. Salvation will snatched out from underneath while you were sleeping.
So be ready. Watch. Anticipate our Lord’s return. For He comes to snatch you from the fires of hell, from the ravages of this fallen world, from the sorrows of this valley of the shadow of death.
But do not worry. For on that Last Day as you enter the court of the Almighty God, who will stand against you? Who will accuse you? Who will prosecute you and make any charge stick to you? No one! For if God is for you who can be against you? God is your judge. And He sent His own Son to be your defense. The Son defended you not with clever legal maneuvering, but with His own body taking your guilty verdict upon Himself. And having taken it He now advocates for you before His Father. He intercedes. He pleads your case.
He has plead for you throughout this last year. He prays for you to His Father in heaven even now. He sits at His Father’s right hand ruling all things for you. For He can not forget those who are in Him, who are part of Himself, whom He has fed from His own breast with His body and blood. One year of grace and mercy has passed. Another dawns. Watch and be ready. Quietly trust Him for in Him there is salvation.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
---Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON