"Let all mortal flesh keep silence, And with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly-minded, For with blessing in His hand, Christ our God to earth descending, Comes our homage to demand.
"King of kings yet born of Mary, As of old on earth He stood, Lord of lords in human vesture, In the body and the blood, He will give to all the faithful, His own self for heav'nly food."
People often want a "god" they can control, a god who doesn't ask too much of them. Such an arrangement allows people to assert their independence and be their own gods; no one can tell them what to do! But such an invented god is not the God we worship, the God who has revealed Himself to us in Holy Scripture and through His Son Jesus Christ. Our God declares, "I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides Me there is no God" (Isaiah 45:5a). "I am the LORD; that is My Name; My glory I give to no other" (Isaiah 42:8a).
In our hymns we often call on one another to praise God, singing out, "Alleluia!" that is, "Praise the Lord!" But our hymn today calls for a different kind of worship. Here we are told to "keep silence" and stand "with fear and trembling." We are to set aside all thoughts of earthly things as we anticipate the presence of our God and Savior. Christ our God is coming among us. He will be present in His body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and He "comes our homage to demand." This is no make-believe god; Christ will receive our honor and reverence.
The King of kings, born of Mary, did not first come dressed in rich and royal garments of velvet and silk. Jesus, the Lord of lords, God from all eternity, came among us clothed in "human vesture, in the body and the blood." This is our Savior, who is worthy of all praise. He came among us to lay down His life for us so that we might live. What other so-called "god" has done that? Jesus took our sin and guilt onto Himself and in exchange gives us His own righteousness. By God's grace, through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven, and we are placed into a right relationship with God.
The crucified and risen Lord, in human vesture, is exalted to rule at the right hand of God. This is Christ our God, who rightly demands the homage due Him. Yet our mighty Savior still gives "His own self for heav'nly food." In the Lord's Supper, Jesus feeds us with the gracious gift of His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. What can we say in the presence of such a precious, holy gift? We can only "keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand" in the presence of our God and Savior, who gives Himself to us in this heavenly feast.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are King of kings and Lord of lords. With humility and joy we receive Your gifts and praise Your holy Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," which is found on page 621 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What would be an example of a contemporary "god" that people put their faith in?
2. What didn't Jesus come to earth as a king, full of pomp and circumstance? Wouldn't that have made more of an impression on us?
3. Does praising the Lord in silence lead to a different kind of reverence and devotion?
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