“You crown the year with bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance” (Psalm 65:11).
We welcome the second month of Anno Domini (The Year of Our Lord) 2017. We sang hymn LSB 896 on New Year’s Day. The refrain, for five of the seven verses, was “Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace/ Another year of grace.” This refrain is a stabilizing realization that we are in another year with God’s grace distributed to us. He desires that we embrace His grace with thanksgiving.
There are a variety of things in this world that can make us unstable: health concerns, finances, relationships, politics, weather (quite a winter that has settled on us since December 9th) and/or other issues. Any one of these issues can lead us to anguishing thoughts; however, often it is not just one that flares up at a time. God’s strength and peace to you as we, “Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace/ Another year of grace.”
The Lord “crown(s) the year with bounty.” He has stretched out the heavens and determines the course of the sun, and He provides moisture to the land. Through these provisions, and many more, He crowns the year with life. It is happening, and we are part of it. Alleluia! Let us understand this crowning of the year to be His blessings. We witness the stars, sun, and moon on their stable course. We witness the moisture being stored up for the land. We witness “life and breath, and everything” (Acts 17:25) that we need to support this body and life. Great are His blessings.
But, oh, He provides so much more than just provisions for this physical life here in time. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He does this through His Word and Sacraments through which the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the faithful. “The peace of God which surpasses (transcends) all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). He washes us with a new life through Baptism with all the power and benefits that come along with being clothed in Christ’s righteousness. He works through His church to serve His true body and blood for intimate communion that gives the forgiveness of sin. Indeed, God has crowned another year with His grace.
“Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.” This resembles Psalm 23:5, “You anoint my head with oil, and my cup overflows.” The overflowing abundance of God’s mercy and grace is reassuring. Wherever the Lord passes by (in Psalm 65 on a wagon) abundance follows and overflows. Let us take heed of how Jesus established to be with us “always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:10).
We do not know how all the health concerns, finances, relationships, politics, weather, and/or other issues will turn out in 2017. However, we can be assured that God’s grace will be available through it all. It will be “another year of (God’s) grace,” Grace that He wants us to embrace with thanksgiving. Therefore, “Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace/ Another year of grace.”
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman