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One of my favorite hymns of praise is "Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise" (LSB 802). The first verse goes on to say, "In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise."

In the epic movie "Rudy," Father Cavanaugh speaks the sage phrase, "There is a God, and I am not him." I am sensing this very thing today ... or more so. My hymn of self-reflection is a dirge, "Mortal, imbecile, what a fool am I."

I am at the cottage for a couple days of personal retreat and leaf raking. I arrived in daylight, cleared the leaves off the roof, and connected the internet and tv ... all was looking good. And then the dirge began ... Try as I did ... with the conditions looking so good ... I could not get a fire to stay lit. Leaves, twigs, wood, paper, gas ... each fire burned for a good 90 seconds ... and then died. I needed a fire person ... and I am not him. Then I tried to figure out how to put oil in my new leaf blower, but could not! I took it to the local mechanic, and ... I'll keep it short ... the solution was one that a kindergartner could have noticed. I needed a person with a little bit of practical know-how ... and I AM NOT HIM! (And that is only half of the story)

Or, in the words of the dirge, "Mortal, imbecile, what a fool am I!"

There are two sides of this coin for all of us. 'Heads are up" and we are able to see the good things about ourselves. And there is "Tails are down" in which we see our inadequacies, faults, and failures. And, all to often, the ratio. as we see it, is equal to - or worse than - the 3-1 favoring "tails are down." We recognize only the first verses of Isaiah 6, as we say with the prophet of old, "Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies." (Isaiah 6.50)

In the midst of this dirge, it was revealed to me that I need a revelation ... an opinion coming from a new and different voice ... the very same voice that announced to that ancient seer, "Your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for." (Isaiah 6.7) This alien voice assures all of God's people that "though your sins are scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool." (Isaiah 1.18). It is none other than the 'other worldly voice' of Jesus that announces to me (as he did to the woman caught in adultery) - and you, "Your sins are forgiven." (Luke 7.48)

To this the 3-in-1 voice of the Holy God - after his voice speaks tenderly "that our time of forced labor is over, our iniquity has been pardoned, and we have received from the Lord's hand double for all our sins." (Isaiah 40.2) - adds "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2.9) With this, and in spite of the "Mortal, imbecile, what a fool am I" dirge that my inner voice sings, I am given a new, louder voice that shouts "I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4.13)

Thus today - and every day - the Immortal, invisible, God only Wise speaks to me - and to you, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4.4-7)

Or, in what what Father Cavanaugh and all of God's baptized people - including you and me - aught rightly to conclude, "There is a God, and I am not him ... but he lives in me." And that makes all of the difference in the world ... and in our eternity ... for, in Christ we are both immortal and invincible!


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