Sunday, December 16, 2007

TODAY


Sunday, December 15, 2007

Up at sunrise, stretching before taking the puppy for her first long walk of the day. I took this picture through our living room window, out over the deck and past the tornado-ravaged trees, slowly making their way back from that harrowing storm.

Studying Hebrews chapter four in adult Bible class this morning, we came across these words:
"TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME."
And later, "He again fixes a certain day, 'Today...'"

What is meant by "Today"? The millenium, as Lutherans understand it? I think so. It is the time alotted to "enter God's rest". "Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it." (Heb.4:1)
I think what also is meant is what is expressed in the Collect for Matins:
"Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent.
Abide with us and with Your whole Church.
Abide with us in the end of the day,
In the end of our life,
And in the end of the world..."
We live our lives in the end times. "Today" is such a reminder that we live in the promises and rest of the Lord, with fulfillment and a greater rest to come.

The Collect prayer concludes:
"Abide with us with Your grace and goodness,
with Your holy Word and Sacrament,
with Your strength and blessing.
Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us,
the night of fear and despair when death shall come.
Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity."
We sometimes lightly refer to ourselves as "Dark Lutherans". I think this prayer expresses what that means, and also what it means to live Today, each day. We don't pretend that death is something wonderful. We don't pretend that we aren't weak and fearful at the approach of death. Still, we keep death in our sights, and in its proper perspective. What follows death is the Greater Rest of heaven, and we pray that we will die well.

It is well to daily remember that we live in the "Today".