"Blessed Jesus, at Your Word, We are gathered all to hear You. Let our hearts and souls be stirred, Now to seek and love and fear You, By Your teachings, sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love You solely.
"All our knowledge, sense, and sight, Lie in deepest darkness shrouded, Till Your Spirit breaks our night, With the beams of truth unclouded. You alone to God can win us; You must work all good within us."
"Blessed Jesus ... we are gathered all to hear You." Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no one was gathering for any reason. Church doors are closed, but still God's people gather around the Word, reading the Scriptures for themselves, reading and listening to the Word online, sharing with brothers and sisters in Christ the comfort and peace found in Holy Scripture, by phone or—at a safe social distance—in person.
Wherever we are, whenever we read or hear His Word, Jesus is there to meet us. His Word calls us to repentance and to trust in Him, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. We read and hear His Word of forgiveness, the forgiveness won for us on the cross. Our hymn echoes the words of Jesus, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself" (John 12:32).
Yet we could not believe the glad news of forgiveness and we could not be drawn to love Jesus apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, always at work in the Word, brings the light of truth to hearts and minds that "lie in deepest darkness shrouded." It is the Spirit who stirs our hearts and souls to love the Savior who gave His life for us.
Having been enlightened by the Spirit through the Word, we are not to neglect meeting together—so far as we are able to do so. When we worship together, when we speak the Word of truth with friends or meditate on the Word of God in private devotions, the Spirit is at work. We are to "stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24b), just as the Spirit has stirred our hearts and souls to the love of Jesus. It is Jesus' love that we share in works of kindness and service to others. In the Word and with the Word, we are to encourage one another, and do so all the more as we see "the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25b).
That Day is coming, the Day of Jesus' return. On the Last Day we will be raised to life as He was raised from death of the first Easter morning. We will be drawn from earth "to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17b). With no need to practice social distancing, we will gather with all the saints around the Word made flesh to offer our praise and hear His precious voice.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, draw us near to You and to one another as we read and study Your Word. Give us opportunities for works of love and service in Your Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word," which is found on page 904 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. If you attend church, have you begun doing so again since the stay-at-home recommendations?
2. How important is it for you to worship with others? What do you get out of it?
3. What new ways have you found to encourage others in their faith since the start of COVID-19?
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