Table Talk: Draw Us Up, O Lord

By: Mathew Block

“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

These words, taken from the writings of St. Augustine, are a reminder that no one finds true peace outside of God. That doesn’t stop us from trying, though; we are all of us restlessly searching for meaning.

Within every person, there is a deep understanding—acknowledged or not—that something is wrong with the world. That something is wrong with us. We are sinners, and the Law written on our hearts reveals to each of us the depravity of our own nature (Romans 2:15). In other words, we weigh ourselves in the balance and find ourselves wanting. How then shall we make amends? How fill up what is lacking in us? We cry out with St. Paul, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). And so, the search is on for something, anything that might save us and give our lives meaning.

This quest for salvation is for many a treacherous one. Some turn to religions of works, thinking that if they just pray enough or do enough they can cancel out their debt and earn God’s good favour. This is the end teaching of so many different religions—and, indeed, of too many ill-informed Christians as well.

But such religions fail to satisfy, and so many people look for meaning in other places: in the acquisition of wealth; in politics; in getting that higher degree; in the idolization of family. Others abandon the chase for meaning altogether, settling for a steady stream of movies, books, video games, and social media to drown out that persistent voice in their hearts that tells them something is deeply broken inside them. So ends humanity’s search for meaning.

But the God of Scripture—the true God—does not expect us to find Him on our own. He does not wait for us to raise our heads to the heavens. Instead, He stoops down. The Incarnation of Christ turns our self-driven quest for meaning on its head. God becomes what we are, flesh and blood, in order to make us as He is.

“O God, make us Your own! You fill the hole in our hearts not by giving us a small piece of Yourself, but rather by enfolding us within Your own heart.”)

Our restless hearts cannot find their peace in our “getting hold” of God, as if He were some treasure we could possess. Instead, our rest comes in being possessed by Him. O God, make us Your own! You fill the hole in our hearts not by giving us a small piece of Yourself, but rather by enfolding us within Your own heart. It is the difference between filling a cup with water and submerging the cup within an ocean. In both cases, the cup is filled—but how much fuller is the cup enveloped by the sea!

This is true peace on earth, the goodwill towards men which the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus. In Him, we indeed find rest, drawn to Him by His own merciful invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Truly He is gentle and humble in heart, this God who steps down out of the heavens to raise us up. Truly You are humble, Lord Christ, for though You are Life itself, You deigned to die for us poor sinners upon the cross. Give us the peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27). Proclaim to us through Your Word again the promise of forgiveness. Assure us that that our lives are even now hidden in You through baptism (Colossians 3:3). Fill us with Your very life through the Sacrament of the Altar. Indwell us, O Lord, and let us dwell in You, and so find rest.

We need not bear the burden of finding God. We need not, with restless hearts, run this way and that searching for peace. Peace has already come to us. It came that first Christmas, so many years ago. It comes for us again now, to lay hold of us, to sweep us up into the heart of God. O Holy Spirit, give us faith to believe!

Hold us in that peace, O God, in the midst of the suffering and sorrows of this life until we at last enter into the Sabbath of eternity—that day when we shall finally see with our own eyes the rest which You promise Your people (Hebrews 4:9). Draw us up to You, O God, and grant us peace at the last.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona nobis requiem. Dear Lord Jesus, give us rest.

Mathew Block is editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine and communications manager for the International Lutheran Council.

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Table Talk: Draw Us Up, O Lord

Posted By: canluth
Posted On: December 12, 2018
Posted In: Feature Stories, Headline, Table Talk,

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