Posted on May 29th, 2017
He’s worried, the man who wrote our opening Psalm. “Hear, O Lord,” means, “Are you listening?” He seeks the Lord’s face – yet begs, “Hide not your face from me.” Why is He not listening? Why does His face appear hidden?
ISIS blows up children in Manchester; Coptic Christians are gunned down in Egypt’s desert. Did the Lord not hear them? Why does His face appear hidden?
There you stand, at the grave of your wife. There you stumble, at the difficult moments of your life. There you weep, as your child struggles and suffers. There you sigh, as no companion materializes for you. Did the Lord not hear you? Why does His face appear hidden?
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Is this unwavering confidence? Or is it encouragement in the midst of fear?
A cross has been prepared for you. “Deny yourself,” Jesus said. “Take up your cross, and follow Me.” Do you want to? Following Jesus means death. Death to yourself, death to your desires. Would you follow the Crucified One? You won’t find an easy victory. “The end of all things is at hand.” “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you.” “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
What are we supposed to do in that situation? There are two natural responses: fight or flight. When trouble comes, run away from it. Or, when trouble comes, fight back.
Instead of this, St. Peter in today’s Epistle says that the Christian has a radically different response to trouble. The disciple of Jesus does not run away. The disciple of Jesus does not fight. What does the disciple of Jesus do? Love. Peter alludes to an Old Testament Proverb: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Prov. 10.12).
This doesn’t mean that if you love more, if you do better things, you can cover up and pay for the bad things you’ve done. No, this mean the Christian forgives those who sin. Hatred stirs up strife, because it wants to bring out the sins of others and make them pay.
Who do you want to see pay for their sins? That is what God calls hatred. Is that how you are wanting God to treat you? To keep track of and make you pay for your wrongs?
Love covers a multitude of sins. This is what God’s love has done for you. This is what the love of God in you does for others. G.K. Beale puts it this way: “The idea is not that the wrongs are concealed but not dealt with, but rather that the love itself reconciles the alienated offender and changes everything.”
What would our church look like if we practiced that kind of love with each other? What would your family look like if it practiced that kind of love with each other? “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
This is the last thing our human nature wants to do. We want our pound of flesh. We want someone to pay.
But someone has already paid. The Lord Jesus paid in full. His death covers the multitude of sins.
This is the testimony of the Spirit. “When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
When you sin, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, who covers your sin.
When you are sinned against, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, who covers those sins too.
When false witnesses rise against you, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, who bore silently the accusation of false witnesses.
When those breathing out violence rise against you, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, who forgave those who did violence to Him.
When you feel all alone, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, and you know you are never alone.
When you are dying, this Helper is with you, pointing you to Jesus, who died your death.
When you are in the grave, this Helper is with you, and He will breathe again on you, and you will live.
You cry, “Hear, O Lord!” He says, “I hear you, dear child.”
You cry, “Hide not your face from me!” He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
You cry, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” He says, “No one.”
You cry, “I have sinned!” He says, “My love covers a multitude of sins.”
You cry, “My neighbor has sinned!” and He says, “My love covers a multitude of sins.”
This is what you get at the Sacrament today. This is what you leave here with to give away. The Word of the Lord: “My love covers a multitude of sins.” +INJ+