Pastor Bill's Musings

Here's a collection of Newsletter articles and other musings from our Senior Pastor.
9/1/2017 11:42:00 AM
Pastor Bill
The Peace of Christ be with You!

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is just around the corner at the end of October and it has me thinking about Luther’s time vis-à-vis our own.  Both were times of tumult.  Both were filled with warring factions of people and competing ideologies. Where Luther experienced the princedoms and regions of Germany at odds with one another and with the Holy Roman Empire, we are seeing wars and sabre rattling abroad, and civil unrest and violence at home.

Both then and now, the people of Luther’s day and we find ourselves anxious in the present and concerned for the future.  What will happen? How will I fare? What becomes of our society, our civilization, our world?

These are not new concerns, only thought about by those who live in these post-enlightenment times.  Even the ancients spoke of how unsettling the world can be.  Psalm 46, the basis for Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress,” refers to shaking mountains and roaring seas, nations that rage and kingdoms that totter.  But in the same breath, the psalmist reminds us that “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge,” or in Luther’s words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

The German philosopher and political scientist, Hannah Arendt, once wrote “No civilization ... would ever have been possible without a framework of stability, to provide the wherein for the flux of change.”  While Arendt was talking about political and legal systems, I believe this same truism can be applied to the church and to the world as a whole.  Where the legal system was the framework for Arendt, our “wherein” is nothing else than the Word of God.  We have a certain stability in the world because God has promised to be with us, to be our mighty fortress, present with us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that the evils of this world and the pain and suffering caused by those with ungodly intent will not reach or affect us?  Does that mean that God will simply raise his hand and vanquish all who oppose us?  No, it does not.  But it does mean that God will suffer with us, by our side, and will endure with us in this age and throughout eternity.

Luther wrote this sentiment into his anthem.  Speaking of God’s foes, he wrote: “Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child, or spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day.  The kingdom’s ours forever!”

Fear, anxiety and angst are all part of being human and living through trying times.  Those thoughts and feeling have been a part of human experience since the creation of humanity.  But for longer than creation itself, God has been at the fore providing a place, a kingdom, that is our refuge and strength.  He has also lifted up a king in his own Son to be the “very present help in times of trouble.”  It is OK to be fearful and to worry about what tomorrow may bring—that’s human.  But ultimately, the battle has been won—that’s divine.  We may lose all we have, even our own life, but the love and presence of our God is ours forever.  On that you may rest assured!

The peace of Christ be with you.

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