Rend the Heavens and Come Down!
Monday of Advent 2
10 December 2018
The Word of God condescends to receive our human flesh of the Virgin Mary that He might become an object of human experience and sense. How could God become subject to our human experience and sense? Indeed, who has ever reached up into heaven to behold the true God? Who has ever broken open the gates of heaven that he might ascend into the presence of God? Who has ever rent the heavens wide that he might look upon God? No one. The incarnate Word of God has said, "no one has ever seen God at any time" (Jn 1:18). God remains unknown and unknowable apart from his determined self-revelation in Christ. We do not mount up to find him, He stoops to find us.
He does so through taking on our human flesh of the Virgin Mary. He becomes visible, touchable, and audible. He becomes the One upon whom we looked upon when He was pierced for our transgressions. He becomes the One who stops the 12-year flow of blood when touched. He becomes the One who lets hear those who have ears. He becomes the One who is susceptible to brutal treatment under rough hands. He becomes the One who for us was nailed to the accursed tree.
In the flesh He also becomes a son of Abraham and is subject to the responsibilities and debts incumbent upon Abraham and his children. He Himself fulfills the whole law, undergoing circumcision and in that shedding of blood foreshadows yet more blood being shed from his own veins. That profusion of blood clears us of the law's debt both by perfectly fulfilling the law and by bearing its full penalties under the wrath of God. Such was the mission of our Lord Christ, who rent the heavens and came down.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Gregory Thaumaturgus
"With the purpose of saving humanity and fulfilling the testament that was made with our fathers, Christ has once 'bowed the heavens and come down' (Ps 18:9). Thus, He shows Himself to us as we are capable of receiving Him, in order that we might have power to see Him, and handle Him, and hear Him when He speaks. On this account God the Word took to Himself the flesh and the perfect humanity by a woman, the holy Virgin. He was born a man, in order that He might discharge our debt, and fulfill even in Himself the ordinances of the testament made with Abraham, in its rite of circumcision, and all the other legal appointments connected with it."

 Gregory Thaumaturgus, Four Homilies
Psalm 18:1-12

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
O Savior, rend the heavens wide; Come down, come down with mighty stride; Unlock the gates, the doors break down; Unbar the way to heavens crown. Amen.
For Florence Brimberry, that she would regain her strength while resting comfortably and recovering from orthopedic surgery
For Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, in thanksgiving to God for his successful labors
For all the baptized, that they would live in its power and forgiveness through confession and absolution
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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