Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our reading this week from Leviticus 19 is absolutely great! I wonder how many people preach sermons about the demands of this chapter? Be holy as God is holy. Do so by treating others fairly, speaking well of others, guarding their lives, forgiving them, being straightforward with others about their sin so they will repent, and loving them. These are excellent descriptions of ways in which God is holy.
In this vein, I want to remind all three of my readers of the confession of sins which typically occurs at the start of a Lutheran church service. Before the holy and righteous God, we confess that we are sinners, that we have sinned before God in what we think, say, and do. We get specific by saying that we haven’t loved God with all our hearts and we haven’t loved our neighbors as ourselves. We admit that our failures condemn us and that we deserve eternal condemnation from God.
If we’re truthful with ourselves and with others, that’s the conclusion we must reach based on this reading. We’re all set to tell others they need to shape up and live right, acting these ways toward us. And we are perfectly ready to lie about ourselves, claiming that we do really well. Maybe not so well sometimes, but we’re only human, right?
It doesn’t make a difference to God. And God the Son, Jesus, was more human than you or I will be prior to the resurrection. It isn’t that we are only human. It’s that we are sinful.
Does the confession of sin leave us to perish? Not at all. At the end the pastor reminds us that as we have confessed, God is true to his word and forgives us all of our sin. We then freely return thanks to God, hear His Word, and receive the Sacrament, which is another act of forgiveness.
Be holy, as God is holy. And since we can’t do that, we look to the forgiving Lord, who has reconciled us to himself through his death on our behalf.
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