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Archives - October 2019

Deperate

October 27, 2019
By Rev. Peter Heckert

+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

The text for our meditation for this Reformation weekend is from our Epistle text, where Paul tells the Romans, “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Here ends our text; dear Christian friends …

Have you ever been inside an escape room before? I got to experience one for the first time with our middle-schoolers up at Camp Lutherhaven a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, it’s an interesting ordeal. You and a group of other people are locked in a room with a time limit and an adventurous scenario – think stopping a nuclear launch, bank heist, zombie apocalypse, that sort of thing. Clues are hidden throughout the room, and you and your group have to use them to solve complex, interlocking puzzles to accomplish the task and escape the room. It’s all in good fun, but I will say that there are moments, when the clock is ticking down and your team has hit a wall unable to solve one of the puzzles, that the situation begins to feel … desperate.

Now, it’s easy enough to walk out of an escape room – there aren’t any real consequences if you should fail – but the same cannot be said of situations that often befall us in real life. You can’t walk away from cancer or dementia. You can’t walk away from mounting financial debt. You can’t walk away from the fallout of a house fire. I’m sure we all know people who have been in desperate situations like these – perhaps we’ve been in them ourselves, and know how desperate those times can be – but there is a desperate trait that is absolutely universal to all of humanity: I speak, of course, of sin, and its fruit, death. Our state as fallen, sinful, broken human beings is truly desperate.

Martin Luther knew this intimately. Like many people of his time, Luther agonized over his sins and fretted about his eternal standing before God. Had he remembered to enumerate and confess every single sin in the confessional booth? Had he prayed the “Hail Mary” and the “Our Father” enough times? Had he done all that he could to earn the lily of Christ’s mercy and avoid the sword of His wrath? He didn’t know! And like many people who were thusly vexed at that time, Luther concluded that, by entering a monastery, he would find a place of refuge and reprieve, a place where he could rest assured that salvation was his … boy, was he wrong! The more he prayed, the harder he worked, the more earnestly he mortified his flesh … the more keenly aware he became of his own sinfulness, the more he realized he was falling short in spectacular fashion, and the more he recognized the truly, truly desperate state that he was in.

But things started to change as he began his study of the Scriptures - an opportunity that was not afforded to everyone at that time, by the way. While there was no singular “A-ha” moment for him, Paul’s letter to the Romans proved to be foundational for Luther’s Reformation break-through, and I’d imagine our Epistle text from Romans 3 contributed heavily to that understanding. In the immediate context of our reading, Paul has just finished writing, What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Then we get to today’s reading: Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

That’s the truth of God’s Law. Before its perfect requirements and demands, every human mouth is rightly shut and silenced. We are without any excuse for our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, what we have done and what we have left undone. This is descriptive of every fallen human being that has ever walked this planet or ever will – we are, at our core, unrighteous, and accountable to God for our sin according to His perfect Law. There is literally nothing that we can do, no action or inaction that we can take that is not inherently tainted with the pure evil of sin. When you understand that as Paul did, as Luther did, you start to see rightly how very desperate our situation is, how truly hopeless we are on our own. You can try and try, but it will NEVER be enough. Like Luther, you can join a monastery or a nunnery, pray day and night, whip yourself to within an inch of your life whenever you sin, and you will be no closer to God than you were before. In fact, the harder you try to justify yourself, to save yourself, the further from God you become. “[B]y works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight.” Ours is a desperate, hopeless situation; this is most certainly true!

Thanks be to God for the but (with one “T”) that follows in Paul’s letter! See, the Church was right about this at Luther’s time – sin is deadly serious (probably something we need to reemphasize in our day and age) – but they emphasized what we must do to right the ship instead of what God has already done! Hear how Paul continues in his letter, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Do you get how radical this was for Luther to read? He had been indoctrinated in this incredibly vast, complicated, and efficient “salvation machine” that operated out of Rome! He had been sold on the idea that the right prayers, the right pilgrimages, the right relics would result in 1,782,394 years less in purgatory! He’d been taught that the grace of God is the fuel you need to do the good works needed for salvation! That is NOT what Paul speaks of here! We are all sinners, this is true! We are all meritorious of damnation and death and hell, this is true! But it is ALSO true, that we are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation, atonement, satisfaction, by his blood, to be received by faith.

Our situation as sinful humans is, indeed, desperate, but we have a God of love Who was so desperate to be with His creatures once more, that He sent His only-begotten Son to die for our sins– once, for ALL! It is finished, my friends! Your sins are forgiven in Christ Jesus, and no number of prayers or Hail Mary’s can improve your standing! It was declared over you as you were baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus in your baptism! There is no need to work for salvation, and indeed, it is counterproductive to try, as Paul continues by asking, “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” This is the ultimate legacy of Luther’s Reformation: we are saved from the just consequence of our sins, not by works, but by the grace of God alone, through the faith that He gives us in Christ, and we trust His promise that this is true. This is why we sing that our God is a mighty fortress, a trusty shield and weapon! This is why we proclaim loud and long Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum, The Word of God Remains Forever! This is our heritage, my friends, a blessed gift from our loving Father in heaven, and a gift to share with all those around us! We are no longer desperate and hopeless; we know the Truth in Christ, and the Truth has set us free!

+ In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. + Amen.

A God of Love

October 20, 2019
By Rev. David French

As is always the case, today’s Gospel lesson is part of a larger context. Beginning with verse 20 of chapter 17, Jesus has been talking about the end of time. He’s also been talking about the persecution that the Church will endure before the end of time comes. As Jesus said to His disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it” (Luke 17:22). That is, Jesus encouraged the disciples not to lose heart in the middle of persecution because when the time is right, the Son of Man will come to judge the living and the dead. That’s where today’s Gospel lesson begins. And so, it’s in light of the fact that the Church will be persecuted that Jesus told them a parable teaching they should “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

The judge in the parable clearly was not worthy of his position because he “... neither feared God nor respected man” (Luke 18:2). This judge was interested in his comfort alone and didn’t really care about the cases that came before him. He wasn’t interested in the law of God, and he wasn’t interested in the opinion of people. He was, to say the least, not the kind of judge you would want to bring your case before.

Unfortunately, the widow in our parable had no choice. Widows in biblical times were among the weakest, most vulnerable members of society. And while Jesus doesn’t give the details of the woman’s case, we do know that she went to someone who should have helped her in her search for justice.

The judge, however, saw no gain for himself by helping the woman, so he decides to ignore her. He hoped she would just give up and go away, but she didn’t. Every morning he entered his court, and there she was, bringing her petition. 

Eventually, he got tired of seeing her and said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming” (Luke 18:4–5). Ultimately, the widow wore the judge down. He didn’t hear her case because it was the right thing to do, but because he was sick and tired of seeing her in his court day after day. He simply wanted to get rid of her.

This parable is what’s known as a parable of contrasts. Jesus contrasted this unrighteous judge with God who is righteous and holy. He said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:6–8). In other words, Jesus taught His disciples that if an unrighteous judge will give justice just to get a nagging widow off his back, how much more will the God of love bring justice to His people.

The contrast between God and the unrighteous judge is not the only contrast in this parable. There’s also the contrast between us and the widow. Although Jesus doesn’t tell us the details of the widow’s case, we do know that it was a good case. Our case before God, however? Not so much. The truth is, we don’t have the right to even bring a case before God. 

But God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world in order to redeem the world. Jesus took the punishment for the guilty verdict we deserved. He opened God’s court to all by paying all our debts when He died on the cross.

And while we still have no rights in His court, God gives us that right for the sake of His only begotten Son, our savior, Jesus Christ. You were given that right on the day of your baptism when the Holy Spirit worked faith in your heart.

In this parable, Jesus teaches us to pray continually and never lose heart. Why? It’s because His promise is that He will bring justice to His chosen ones and will do so speedily. The really good part is, the justice He gives is not what we deserve. He doesn’t give the justice dictated by the law, but the justice dictated by Him being a God of justice and love. 

Jesus shows us that God’s justice simply can’t be separated from God’s love; that is, His love as revealed in His Suffering Servant, a love that has as its goal to make the sinner pure and the ungodly just.

Remember, God sent His Son because He so love the world, that is, He so loved people, all people, people like the widow, people like the unjust judge, people like you and me who hear Him today. But God’s love is not always so easy to see, even for a believer, so Jesus teaches us to pray continually and never lose heart.

My friends, as St. John assures all who, by the working of the Holy Spirit, believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, “Now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears we shall be like him ….”

The truth of those words is what Jesus purchased for all humanity with His life and death. And with His resurrection, the truth of those words is what is received by all who believe. And that means God’s kingdom is already among us. To be sure, much of it in ways we don’t see, but still believe, knowing as God revealed through the apostle Paul, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). And so, we continue to pray. We pray especially for that time when we shall see Jesus face-to-face and this world of sin is replaced with a new heaven and a new earth.

After Jesus finished telling the parable, He asked, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will he find faith that is persistent and loyal? The answer implied in the question is yes, He will! He will find people like those mentioned throughout the Bible who prayed without ceasing. 

He will find faith in people like the tax collector who humbled himself and beat his chest begging God for mercy. He will find faith in the little children who look to Christ and trust him completely. He will find faith in people like the blind beggar who cried out to Christ for healing and mercy. He will find faith in people like you and me who come before Him again on this day. For we, too, are a people who stand before God pleading for mercy and leaning on Christ for everlasting hope.

So, can we pray and not lose heart? Yes! Can we pray and not give up? Absolutely! For we know to whom we belong. Jesus the Christ of God purchased you from sin, death, and the power of the devil with His own holy blood. You belong to Him. You are a part of His body. He has won eternal life for you which comes with the right to pour out your heart to God your Heavenly Father in prayer. 

The apostle Peter wrote, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He cares for you and, unlike the unjust judge in today’s parable, our God truly is a God of love who invites you to come to Him in prayer because, by grace through the faith He has worked in you, you are truly His beloved and precious child.

In His name, Amen.

Tags: Luke 18:1-8

Mercifully Restored

October 13, 2019
By Rev. David French

Outcasts - every culture has them - people who are not allowed to participate fully in society. Sometimes people are looked at as outcasts for reasons beyond their control. The physically deformed and handicapped are among those who many today shy away from. Certainly, mental illness has been a hot topic lately. Then, there are others who seek attention by becoming outcasts. Instead of dressing for success, they dress for shock value. They use language and behave in ways that offend people around them. It’s their goal to make people around them uncomfortable.

In his last sermon to Israel, for sins highlighted earlier in Deuteronomy, God directed Moses to declare; no Ammonite or Moabite may enter the Promised Land; that is, both were outcast. Lepers were also on the list of outcasts. We read in Leviticus (13:45-46), “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

Our Old Testament reading for today is the opening words from the book of Ruth. If you’ve never read it, you really should. It’s only four chapters long and it gives us insight into the culture of the time, into family life, financial dealings, and courtship rituals. Finally, by constantly referring to Boaz as the kinsman redeemer, it gives us good reason to compare the love between Boaz and Ruth and the love between Christ and His bride, the Church. The thing is, Ruth was a Moabite. And so, looking at the big picture of the book of Ruth, we see how God mercifully brings outcasts into His family.

In today’s gospel lesson, we read about Jesus and the ten lepers. Certainly, of all the diseases mentioned in the Bible, I would guess none is a better metaphor for sin than leprosy. Easton’s Bible Dictionary describes the disease this way: This disease is a bacterial disease that “… begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, (eventually) rotting the whole body ….”

I suppose most lepers at some point became used to people turning away in horror or running away in terror. They probably came to appreciate being outside the camp or the community. The life of those affected with this disease must have truly been a lonely and wretched life to live. Through no fault of their own, they became infected and were labeled as outcasts who were no longer permitted to take part in the activities of daily life. In today’s gospel lesson, we see how the Son of God mercifully restores outcasts into His family.

Now, it’s true that Ruth and the lepers were outcasts for different reasons. It’s also true that they, along with us, are outcasts from God’s kingdom for the same reason. You see, from the time Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, Ruth, the Ten Lepers, you, me, all of humanity - we are all born outcasts, separated from God because we are all conceived in and born of sin. And being sinners from birth, we do throughout our earthly lives the only thing we can do - we daily add to our guilt.

And remember, one of the really devious things about our sinful nature is that it often uses what we call good to disguise our sin. Ruth knew that she was an outcast because of where she was born. The lepers knew they were outcasts because every day they could compare themselves to healthy people. Sinners don’t have that advantage.

Everyone is born a sinner, so we have only sinners to compare ourselves to. This world has no sinless standard for us to use as a measure of our own depravity. It’s the nature of our sinful pride to believe that we live in a perfectly healthy and normal world. The truth is, when we judge others by the twisted standards of the world around us, as opposed to God’s standards as revealed in the Scriptures, we can easily develop a feeling that, in some ways, we really are better than some of those around us. We fail to see that we are also fellow outcasts in a sick and dying world.

It’s not until the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and minds and hearts to God’s Word, beginning with the law, that we begin to see that we don’t just say it, we really are miserable sinners. When we see our reflection in the mirror of God’s law, we can clearly see that we have a serious disease and a real problem. Apart from God, even as we live and grow stronger physically, our spirits, dead from sin, are rotting within us.

Just as a leper was a dead man walking, so also a sinner apart from God is a damned man walking. Only when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and shows us the truth through God’s Law do we see that we are indeed still sinners, spiritual lepers, outcasts in need of forgiveness. And since outcasts are not allowed to enter the city of God, the law does the only thing it can do. It condemns us to hell.

But, thanks be to God. After the Holy Spirit opens our eyes through the law, and we begin to feel the guilt we have so richly earned, He mercifully opens our hearts and minds to the truth of His Gospel. Remember, as Jesus healed those ten lepers physically, he was already on His way to Jerusalem to take their spiritual leprosy to the cross, but not theirs alone.

From the time Christ’s blood was shed at the temple seven days after His birth until the day His blood was shed on the cross, Jesus carried the spiritual leprosy, the sin that affects us all, on Himself. In Jerusalem He would offer His perfect life on the cross as payment for the cure of this worldwide, all-consuming disease called sin. And with His resurrection, Jesus began to freely offer that cure to all who are born of sin.

It was after He died that Jesus showed how different He really is. Every living thing that dies soon begins to decay. Eventually, that decay returns every dead thing to dust. As God promised, Jesus didn’t see decay because Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven that He might fill all things in heaven and on earth. So, in a way, we believe by faith but can never truly understand that He is here with us right now. Jesus is here to keep His promise to come to you through His Word and in, with, and under the bread and wine of His Holy Supper. He comes bearing gifts of forgiveness and life for you and for all who meet with Him again this day.

My friends, you had a disease that was much worse than you knew, but by grace through faith in Christ, you have been healed. True, we will all one day die and our bodies will decay, but it’s also true that the day will come when Jesus will raise our bodies to new life. He will take us to our heavenly home where you and I and all who trusted in His promise will live with Him forever. You see, while all of us are born outcasts, you and all who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins have graciously been sought, found, and mercifully restored to the family of God.

In His name, Amen.

Hurry Up and Wait

October 06, 2019
By Rev. Peter Heckert

+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

The text for our meditation is from our Old Testament text, where Habakkuk writes, And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Here ends our text; dear Christian friends…

Coming apart at the seams. That’s probably the best way to describe the world in which Habakkuk inhabited and wrote his prophetic work. Josiah, one of the few righteous kings of Judah, had fallen, killed in combat by the Egyptian Pharaoh, Neco. The king’s youngest son, who had initially succeeded him, was deposed by Egypt and replaced with his second son, Jehoiakim, who was little more than an Egyptian puppet. This man … was a monster. He taxed the land heavily in order to pay homage to Egypt – and no doubt, line his own pockets, as well. Some traditions hold that Jehoiakim was a murderous brute controlled by his passions – having incestuous relations with the women in his family, killing the husbands of women he fancied, seizing the properties that he desired from his subjects. He was nothing like his righteous father, Josiah, and because of his godless rule, Judah (and Jerusalem in particular) became cesspools of corruption, crime, abuse, and wholesale sin. It appeared that every Judahite was living for himself, that he had forgotten his calling by YHWH their God to live as a people set apart, the people from whom the Messiah would come. They lived how they wanted and completely abandoned who they were called to be. That’s the broken world that Habakkuk lived in.

This prophecy of his reads less like other prophets like Isaiah or Amos, and more like the Book of Job, consisting of a series of complaints, God’s answers to those complaints, and ending with the prophet singing the praises of God’s good, albeit mysterious, ways. In our text, however, it sounds as though the prophet has reached his whit’s end. He’s surrounded by this whirlpool of sin that was once the city of peace, and worse, as a prophet, he’s ostracized by the authorities because he dares to call them to repentance. We don’t know what exactly Habakkuk experienced, as any biographical information on the prophet is scant, but we hear his words, and we can see things didn’t go well for him during Jehoiakim’s reign: O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

There’s a lot going on here we don’t know about, but I think it was the waiting that Habakkuk found the most frustrating. He’s called upon the Lord in a day of trouble, and yet He seems distant, far-off, unsympathetic. The thought, no doubt, crossed his mind: “Doesn’t God care? We’re in agony down here!” How long, O Lord? How long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?

Then something happens … Habakkuk seems to have a moment of clarity, recognizing in humility that God is God and he is not, as he says, I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. It is then that the Lord, God Almighty, answers the sorrowing prophet: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

It may have taken a few years of Jehoiakim’s corruption and smut in Jerusalem, but eventually Babylon swept over that wicked land. They were true to the description that God had given – they were strong, mighty, haughty, scoffing at kings and laughing at leaders. They slaughtered the strong, carted off the captives to Babylon, and left behind the weak and the sick to continue on in squalor and ruin. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

It may have taken a few decades, but eventually, the Persian king Cyrus swept in, and annihilated the Babylonians. Eventually, he issued a decree that the Jews could go back to Jerusalem. Many did, and many did not. Those who went back rebuilt the temple, resumed the sacrifices, and waited for the Day that the prophets had talked about, the Day the Messiah would come. … But that wasn’t the end of the story.

It may have taken several centuries before the words of the prophets (including Habakkuk) were fulfilled, but eventually, in God’s timing, a child was born to a virgin in David’s royal city of Bethlehem. That child grew into a man, one who taught publically new and radical things, who performed miracles and cast out demons. That miracle-performing Rabbi … was eventually arrested. He was beaten. He was tortured. In the ultimate mockery of justice, Jesus of Nazareth, who had done no sin, was condemned to death. His hands and feet were nailed to a cross on the outskirts of Jerusalem, that former city of peace. Men and women scoffed at Him, while others wept and wailed, crying out, How long, O Lord? But Jesus waited, enduring the unimaginable pain and scorn until He breathed His last and gave up His Spirit. He endured the full rod of God’s divine punishment, and His body was laid in a newly-excavated tomb, offered up by a rich man. His tomb was sealed, and His disciples cowered behind closed doors, sure that they would be next. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

It may have taken three days, but on that Sunday morning, the tomb’s seal burst, and the rock that had been rolled in front of it was cast aside. The resurrected Jesus – the same one who had been laid in the tomb in death – was alive. In spite of His wounds, He was not dead anymore, and He would never die again. His Church was founded, proclaiming this good news of His death for sin and His resurrection as the firstfruit of the new creation, a fate that awaits us as well … but that wasn’t the end of the story.

The Church has, like Habakkuk, endured times of terrible trial and tribulation. There have been times that we have cried out, How long, O Lord? How long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? The Church has groaned these words. You have groaned these words. In our day and age, there’s corruption aplenty throughout the governments of the world, including our own. We’ve got enemies, both domestic and foreign, who seek our utter destruction. We see wholesale sin on a daily basis and nary a head bowed down in prayer and repentance. We endure natural disasters that befall us, diseases that steal our loved ones away from us, abuse of the poor, crimes of the desperate and despicable. But it is not the end of the story!

As Habakkuk cries out, O Lord, how long, we understand his cry. But God’s answer to us is the same as it was for the prophet: still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Jesus, who endured the cross for us, has promised this suffering will come to an end. He is making all things new. Though the time that we must wait may seem slow, we know that it will surely come; it will not delay. The Day of the Lord is coming, the end of the story of this broken world will merely be the start of a new one, and the righteous who had waited, who had lived by faith … will have their faith become sight.

+ In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. + Amen.

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