Summary: THe power of Christ, the promise of HIs word
Lent 1 The Word’s working word
† In the name of our Lord Jesus †
Grace, mercy, and peace are to be yours, given to you from God our Father, and our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
The Depressed Composer
What could change him?
For the musician, it seemed like one of those months that came straight from the depths of the pit of hell. Depression weighed in on him, partially because of the devastating events, and partially because he had nowhere to turn. He even had trouble getting out of bed, to face the day, and he thought of abandoning his career.
The group he led, had to disband, as it lost its lease on the place they practiced and played. Not that anyone considered them good, anymore. Indeed their last concert was shut down, as the boors and mocking of the audience made it impossible to play.
George did not know what to do, for in days he would be homeless as well. Should he return to his hometown, a man who left with high hopes, but returns as a failure? Could he? Could he even rise out of his depression and despair, and get dressed?
A knock on the door would change everything, as a friend named Charles asked him to create the music for some Biblical passages he had put together. Twenty-four days later, a man no longer depressed, but full of overwhelming joy, would leave his home, to present 53 pieces divided into three sections. The encounter with the person of Jesus, the Messiah shown in scripture, from prophesied hope, to suffering servant, to reigning King, would change George Frideric Handel. His work, which we know as The Messiah, would inspire Kings to rise, honoring the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. It would inspire generations, who would sing the scriptural passages He put to music.
For it is a hard man, that given that much time with the Messiah, with the words of scripture which tell of Jesus life, to not be changed, to not go from despair to joy. For it was the words, that brought the music out, and it was the working of the Holy Spirit in those words, that changed Handel, and still changes people today. To go from deep depression and hopelessness, to complete joy. To go from prospects of a dark future of failure, of shortcomings and eventually death, to know we are saved, by God’s love, by Christ’s death, that is the story of our scriptures. That is the gospel, the word of God which is shared with you, this day.
The whole thought,
Jesus is Lord, and has been raised from the dead
“Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come…”
In Paul’s letter to people just like us, that were the church in Rome, He quotes an Old Testament Passage. It starts, the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. It will help us first, to realize what we mean by the term, word. It is Rhema in Greek, one of three words that we translate as word. But it means more than just a few letters put together, syllables that present a single thought or a simple picture.
In our case, it means the entire content of a rabbi’s teaching. Using Handel’s field of music, we could say that we are not talking about an individual note, but the entire score of the Messiah. Though it may be summed up in a simple manner, the concept is deeper than any well.
Here in Romans 8, Paul sums it up quite succinctly, when he puts two phrases together, one trust that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, and two, that Jesus was raised from the dead by God the Father. Two very simple truths, but from that comes so much – that the Messiah died, that He has risen, that He will come again. This Rhema, this word, is a deep as the oceans, for we can talk of all God has done in making it happen, all that the Messiah did for us their, as He died and was resurrected from death.
What an incredible word, we call it gospel as well, that which has the power to save us, to transform us, as we realize the love of God, for us. It is what we trust, we believe in our heart, it is what we confess, for there is nothing else that provides what we need.
Confess, like Word, has a deeper meaning as well. It is not the one time declaration that we have decided that something is a fact. It is in greek, homologia – literally the “same words” – a testimony that never changes, that which we believe, trust, and have faith in. It is much like the latin “credo” – I believe. It is the credo of the church, throughout history, this word, this gospel. It is what we confess when we gather, in words of creeds, and sermons, words of hymns, it is what we see God do to us, in the water He washes us with, and what we are given as we share in Christ’s Body and Blood.