To be honest with ourselves, we must hear the Word of God regarding our human condition: We are in bondage. The only question is “To whom are we in bondage?” In asserting our freedom, we declare our bondage. Human independence is an illusory dream promulgated by sinners. The freedom so carefully hoarded is but a lie of Satan, the arch-deceiver. Our denial of bondage simply refuted in total by the death that awaits us. Sin, death, and the power of the devil, named by Luther in the Small Catechism, are a trio of bondage holding us enslaved through an illusion, a lie, and a denial. When Jesus comes, fully and bodily, through Word and Sacrament, he binds us to himself in such a way that both our death and our life are taken up fully in his death on the cross and his vindicating resurrection. Only as the Holy Spirit reveals our bondage to the truth that is Jesus Christ is our freedom from the lies of the evil one realized and our death in sin accepted and not denied. Out of our being dead in sin, Jesus Christ raises us to a freedom he establishes… a freedom with no constraints…. a freedom for freedom’s sake alone (Gal. 5:1).
Prayers from one who loves the lies and illusions more vigorously than the reality given him by the Word of God…
Father, your Son Jesus Christ tells me that he is the truth. So use your Holy Spirit to work such faith within me that I be born into the reality established by your Son, leaving behind the lies and illusions that hold me in their bondage.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ tells me that he is the way. So use your Holy Spirit to work such faith within me that I resist finding any other way to you except the way that comes through the Word of God.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ tells me that this is life itself. So use your Holy Spirit to work such faith within me so that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ, has taken away that self-centered “I” and given me neighbors to fill its place. So use your Holy Spirit to work such faith within me that I can trust this reality your Son provides and not seek the comfort of the lies and illusions.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ, provides me with neighbors so that I can pass the days of my baptism in both usefulness and in expecting his imminent return so that I do not seek out the lies and illusions of bondage out of boredom and impatience.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ, has given me a particular neighbor in the Institute of Lutheran Theology; so use your Holy Spirit upon me that I am useful to it in its endeavor to teach and preach Christ, him crucified, and him alone.
Father, your Son, Jesus Christ, has given me a promise to sustain me while I wait for his return in glory. So use your Holy Spirit upon me that I do not neglect the hearing of your Word but gladly hear and receive it as if it were life itself. Amen