THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVI – SATURDAY
LESSON: ROMANS 8:28-30
For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath, for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:7-8
The poor widow in this week’s Gospel (Luke 7:11-17) is so closely beset by very great sorrow and fear that she thinks that God, heaven, earth, and everything is opposed to her. Because she looks at all this from the viewpoint of the flesh and as it appears outwardly before her eyes, she must come to the conclusion that it is impossible for her to be released from such anxiety and fear.
But when her son was awakened from death, it seemed just as if heaven and earth, wood and stone were laughing with her and that everything was rejoicing with her. She forgot all her pain and sorrow. It disappeared just like a little spark of fire is extinguished when it falls into the middle of the sea. Isaiah speaks of a “brief moment.” Sometimes I do not see it that way, and the “brief moment” seems an eternity. But in reality, it is only “a brief moment,” and it is followed by much joy as the psalmist also reminds us, saying, “Thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). But that can still be hidden for us, and like the widow here in the Gospel, we do not see it. This deceased son is in the midst of life, for God has him in His bosom, and it was God’s intention to awaken him from death. There is a little spark of death there which proved itself his undoing for “a brief moment.” Of course, none of the people present saw it that way. But when he was restored to life again, that which was previously hidden before all the world became manifest.
SL 11:1653 (14)
PRAYER: Your ultimate purposes, O God, are sometimes hidden from us, but we are assured that You are always concerned for our good. So direct and govern us by Your Holy Spirit that, whatever befalls us, we are nevertheless convinced that all things must work for our good, in and through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 5:127-139.