I have been writing little meditations on the front of my bulletins for the last few years. Each meditation concentrates specifically on one of the propers for each given Sunday in the historic lectionary. My goal is to have a meditation on the Introit, Old Testament, Gradual, Epistle, Alleluia verse/Tract, and Gospel for every Sunday. I figure this will take me another few years before I can compile it for daily use for my congregation. In the meantime, I can share with you what I have so far for the upcoming Sunday, Oculi. Today I will share a devotion on the Introit.
My eyes are ever | toward the LORD,*
for He shall pluck my feet out | of the net.
Turn Yourself to me, and have mer- | cy on me,*
for I am desolate and af- | flicted. (Psalm 25:15-16)
To You, O LORD, I lift | up my soul.*
O my God, I trust in You; let me not | be ashamed;
the troubles of my heart | have enlarged;*
bring me out of | my distresses!
Look on my affliction | and my pain,*
and forgive | all my sins.
Keep my soul, and de- | liver me;*
let me not be ashamed, for I put my | trust in You. (Psalm 25:1-2, 17-18, 20)
Oculi means “eyes.” It comes from the Introit, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord.” Here again, the Introit is taken from Psalm 25. This is what it means to “hear the word of God and keep it.” It means to continue to hold God to his promise. It means to continue to hear his Word, and by faith setting your eyes continually toward the Lord. A woman in the crowd shouted out to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” She was right. Mary was blessed among women. And yet even more than that, Jesus says, “are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” To keep God’s Word means to believe it and depend on it throughout your life. It doesn’t simply mean to know about it. It doesn’t only include agreeing with it. Many people say, “I know all that stuff about the Bible. I went to Catechism class. I know it all. So don’t worry about me skipping church. I’ll be fine.” But you see, faith is more than knowing and agreeing with the facts. It is utterly depending upon God’s Word. It is keeping it close at all times, setting your eyes on what is unseen yet promised through the blood of Christ, which alone gives us a clean conscience before God.
He who does not continually depend on the Word of God is like someone who sweeps his house clean and puts everything in order, but then seven more demons come and he is worse off than before. He gets baptized and even confirmed. Everything seems to be looking good for him. But he neglects hearing the Word of God. He becomes secure in his own ability to remember what God’s Word says. He becomes puffed up by his own understanding. And he doesn’t depend upon God’s preached Word, which alone can comfort him and defend him from the devil’s accusations. So then the devil catches him without the armor of God (Eph 6), and he snatches away his faith. So, dear friends, blessed are you who continually take refuge in the Word of God, for he looks upon all your afflictions, he forgives your sins, and he shall pluck your feet out of the net.