Monday, May 07, 2007

Wisdom: Bound to God in Christ

My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
-Proverbs 6:20-22

Does this Proverb tell us it is enough to learn what our faith means? Is it good enough to know the right answers, or to have Bible passages and the Small Catechism memorized? If we think that is all that needs to be done we mistake the rest stop for the destination. It is important to know the right answers, it is important to commit jewels of God’s Word and the teaching of the Catechism to memory. But these things are only brief stops on the journey of faith.

Wisdom tells us to bind the commandments and teachings of the one true faith to our hearts. When you bind something there is a reason for it, usually to keep it connected or to keep it together. When we bind God’s Word to our hearts we are keeping it together with our hearts, so that every beat is a living reminder of God’s goodness and loving-kindness.

Wisdom tells us to tie God’s teaching around our neck, so that others may see them. We wear God’s Word around our neck like a precious and beautiful necklace. But it is also a sign of our servant hood to Him. In some ancient cultures slaves were forced to where a kind of collar around their neck. It was made of metal and fastened on them when still hot and then welded together so it would never come off. This was a sign to anyone who saw them that they were a slave. So we gladly wear the easy burden and beautiful Word around our necks—that anyone who sees us may know to whom we belong.

The foolish person may see this Proverb and think that he is unjustly bound to a hard and cruel master. It is not attractive in our society to be bound to anything other than our own depraved interests and desires. But those sinful desires do not seek our good. When you are bound to righteousness through Christ Jesus, you will be lead on the right paths, you will be guarded from eternal harm and danger, you will have an Advocate who talks with you and for you.

Wisdom knows this to be true. Holy Wisdom, Christ Himself, was bound for our sakes. He was so bound to the Father’s will that He endured the most severe physical and spiritual punishment and abandonment for us. This is our Wisdom, Christ Himself, the one who makes us wise for salvation unto eternal life.

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I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same

The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.*
Amen.
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* Portions of St Patrick's Breastplate

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