Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 36:13-28; Romans 4:1-25
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. (Psalm 66:5, from the Introit for Epiphany 2)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Our Introit sings of our awesome God who does awesome things for us. Unfortunately, contemporary usage devalues the word “awesome.” People talk about awesome sporting events, awesome meals, or awesome new drinks at the local coffee shop. The LEGO Movie even sang, “Everything is awesome.” And when everything is awesome, is anything really awesome at all?
The root of the word translated as “awesome” means “to fear.” An awesome God is terrifying in and of Himself and His awesome deeds can strike terror. No wonder that people confronted by our awesome God—or even by His holy angels—are regularly told, “Fear not.”
“Awesome” also carries shades of meaning for inspiring reverence or worship. When we cling to the word’s fullest meaning and original intent, we see a God revealed as one who strikes terror into hearts yet whose very being demands our reverence and our worship.
Rather than dreading our awesome God, we join the psalmist in celebrating who He is and what He does. His infinite power isn’t gathered to kill but to make us alive. Even as His deeds destroy wicked works and strike fear in evildoers, they bring comfort, peace, and joy to their beneficiaries—to us.
Good Friday and Easter fully display our awesome God. His hatred of sin was poured out on His Son. He judged Jesus guilty of our sins in order to destroy sin. Having effected our redemption, the Lord than turned His judgment upon death and Devil, raising the Son and promising that we, too, will be resurrected. We greet these awesome deeds with the worship they inspire, living in awe of our God now and forevermore. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Hail, the victim undefiled, Alleluia! God and sinners reconciled, Alleluia! When contending death and life, Alleluia! Met in strange and awesome strife. Alleluia! Christians, on this holy day, Alleluia! All your grateful homage pay; Alleluia! Christ the Lord is ris’n on high; Alleluia! Now He lives, no more to die. Alleluia! (Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia, LSB 463:3-4)