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Second Sunday of Lent – March 13, 2022

Second Sunday of Lent – March 13, 2022

 Week of March 7, 2022 | Sunday, March 13, 2022

Luke 13:31-35

“Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you”
(vs. 31)

These words from the Pharisees tell us that Herod wants to claim the power of life and death. As king, Herod has set himself up as someone who determines who gets to live and who gets to die. This is the prerogative of an absolute monarch in this worldly kingdom broken by sin. As societies developed, this sort of absolute tyranny was modified so that some system of law and some system of judiciary stood in judgment over those claiming to exert such tyranny. God has always stood over such claims to absolute tyranny as the ultimate authority and the ultimate power. He relegates all human claims to power over life and death to the penultimate realm. Every death-dealing and life-ordering agency in this penultimate realm carries out its work under God’s exclusive claim, “I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal…” (Dt. 32:39). Even Herod in his tyranny acts by God’s appointment (Ro. 13:1). Luther reminds us that this is one more of the masks that God wears as he hides in creation and its ordering. In that hiding, God retains the ambiguity of his presence: Is he there for us? Or is he there against us? The hidden God both takes life and gives life, but we have no certainty in any given situation whether he is taking or giving. Only as he has promised to be known… only as he comes clothed in his Word, not hidden beneath his masks, do we have certainty that our God, in his Word Jesus Christ, is for us unambiguously!

Prayers from one who inveterately seeks to peer behind God’s masks, trying to discover what he’s up to…

Father God, remove me from the temptation to just “take a peek” behind your masks. Give me, instead, the satisfaction of receiving your will through the preaching of your Word. Amen

Father God, as I am satisfied receiving your will through the preaching of your Word, grant me the assurance that you are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Amen

Father God, as you carry me in your steadfast love and faithfulness, grant me the forgiveness of my sin and the certainty of your faithfulness even as I am unfaithful. Amen

Father God, with my sin forgiven and your faithfulness certain, turn me loose upon the world that I would live from the confidence of having a God who does not lie. Amen

Father God, as I live in the confidence of your constant truthfulness, grant that my neighbors be the beneficiaries of the works of my hands. Amen

Father God, as my neighbors benefit from my works, grant that one neighbor—the Institute of Lutheran Theology—benefit from both my promotion and my prayers. Amen

Father God, as I and my neighbors live out these days of our baptism in faith and hope, grant us such great anticipation of their ready fulfillment that we greet each new day as the day in which our mighty Lord Jesus will come… Come, Lord Jesus. Amen

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