Archive for January 3rd, 2012

The picture in the header is one I took at The Cloisters (see link on the Blogroll on the right, scrolled down) art museum in New York a couple of years ago.  Since all the picture can not be included above, here is the whole picture of this Medieval stained glass:

I find it rather frightening this image of a man coming towards an infant with a big knife!  It reminds of the Scripture:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.          Hebrews 4:  12-13

But the One circumcised on the 8th day of His Life, according to the covenant with Abraham, did not have to give an account.  He went “under the knife” to live under the Law of God and keep it perfectly. We sin and fail daily.  The Law comes at us like a knife, “sharper than any two-edged sword”, and this is the reason why, in the Hebrews text, the Scriptures says, ” Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”  That is, Jesus’ Sabbath rest in which He rested in the Tomb with the sin of the world so buried which in Him is our forgiveness, beloved!  We are not to disobey such a great forgiveness by which we rest from our works to save ourselves!  He bore it all!!

  Now it is rather fanciful in the stained glass that the portrayal of the Christ as Infant is very much aware and appears to be giving a blessing to the priest about to circumcise Him!  Jesus would feel pain in the cut of the covenant.  He would bleed.  As He would say to John the Forerunner before His baptism:  Let it be to fulfill all righteousness.  His blood is our blessing and beatitude for our salvation.  Then the man on the left holding a rather large basin to catch the blood!  As if there would be a lot of blood spilled from even a circumcision…there would be one day, upon the Cross.  Cut to death. His Name Jesus literally means “God saves”.  His Name and His blood go together.

 Later Jesus taught:

9 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

For even if one is circumcised and boasts about keeping the Law, God’s commandment is still there: You shall love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Also  you shall not covet. Name me one man who has ever kept that or can! (Luther’s Sermon for January 1) We can’t cut it out. One could be cutting away till one is dead because of the cause of sin.  That’s the point:  sin is death. Yes, there is one Man who has kept the law perfectly and He is our peace. On the 8th Day He was cut and one day would be cut off from the land of the living because of our iniquity.  Then on another 8th day, after the Sabbath in the tomb:  He is risen! And so He alone is the resurrection and the life, not Mary, not Martha, not you or I.  No good work is Jesus Christ.  No fine spiritual thought is Jesus Christ. He alone is your peace.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5: 21

From Pr. Johann Gerhard’s  (October 17, 1582 – August 17, 1637) sermon on the Circumcision and Name of  Jesus:

“Just like pearls are found in the ocean, so also in the depths of the great ocean of the Holy Scripture there is to be found the name of Jesus.

The high priests entered the Holy of Holies with blood to make atonement before God. Here we have the true Throne of Grace and God’s blood side by side.

The circumcision shows that Christ is a true Man; the name “Jesus” shows that He is true God.

Just as golden jewelry is composed of many beautiful diamonds, so also the name of Jesus is composed of the many precious diamonds of His blessings. Just as God had planted a paradise garden filled with loveliness for man in his state of innocence, so also after the fall into sin He planted a spiritual, heavenly, desirable garden for our souls the name of Jesus. In it, we find

the true Tree of Life,

the greening Rod of Aaron,

the little Twig from the Root of Jesse,

the righteous Branch of David,

the living Wine-vine,

the little bush of Myrrh,

the Flower and Rose of Sharon

in whom He has enclosed the highest desire and joy of our soul. In Paradise, little fountains quelled forth; in Christ, through the Circumcision, was opened up the little fountain of blood.

Just as a groom bestows his portrait upon his bride, so also God the Lord bestows upon us the name of Jesus, in which Christ has portrayed Himself. We are to bear His image upon our hearts.”

Let us pray…

Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Source: The Treasury of Daily Prayer

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Intro:  Next to watching the football games during the New Year’s weekend, my two sons love to watch the Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy channel.  I think it is worth a whole posting to reflect on a Twilight Zone marathon on the cusp of the New Year as something that has meaning!  But I digress:  my youngest son and I were watching and for the first time I saw what was for me a ‘new’ episode:  “The Obsolete Man”.  If you have not seen, I encourage you to watch it.  My only comment right now is that it has a Christian theme and very much akin to C.S. Lewis.  Please leave your comments.  I will post later on this episode:

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