Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. (Luke 21:28)
Jesus chose to end a short discourse on the end of the world with the command to stand up straight. In essence, he tells us not to bow in fear over what might come: desolation, punishment, “terrible calamity,” or “wrathful judgment.” Don’t be afraid of these, he tells us, but stand erect, unbowed by anxiety, mistrust, alarm, or misgivings. Why? Because your redemption is at hand.
Yes, you can stand erect in the midst of calamity, if it visits you, because God is always near to you. You can stand because you are created in his image and likeness. You reflect the glory of the Lord, and no matter what you think about how you look or how well you follow Jesus, that reflection remains. He breathed his life into you in the beginning, and he has not withdrawn it! So you never have to stand alone. What’s more, you are more than just an ordinary person. You radiate the life of God in you!
When trouble strikes, remember that almighty God loves you and treasures you immensely. He loves you so deeply that he gave his only Son to save you from sin and bring you into his presence. Nothing pleases him more than to spend time with you and to speak to you. So stand erect, knowing that you are worth more to him than all the riches of the universe.
But don’t just stand. Move! You have a vital role to play in the unfolding of God’s plan. You are not an accident or a random occurrence. People depend on you. The Church needs you. The lost and unbelieving rely on you. Your witness, your words, your intercession, your service—it all makes a huge difference in this world. Even if you can’t see how, you matter!
So don’t let troubles or difficulties keep you down. You’re too important, too beloved, and too dignified to let them get the upper hand. Instead, stand up straight, look to your Father, and see what he is doing today. Then move forward, helping prepare for the day when the Son of Man comes “with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27).
“Jesus, I believe in your love for me. I will stand erect and raise my head today, ready to advance your kingdom in this world.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne