Monday, March 10, 2014

Mark's thoughts: Lithuanian Lutherans take in Syrian refugees. Would we?

This report describes how Lithuanian Lutherans are taking in Syrian Christian refugees.  It is an example of Paul's words: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).  The Lithuanian Lutherans have indicated that their own experience of suffering during the Soviet era helped to prompt them to respond to the suffering of these Christians in Syria.

As I read about this I had to wonder: Would I be willing to do this? Would my parish be willing to do this?  Would the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod be willing to do this?  These are hard questions that challenge our American expectations about how the Christian faith should not impinge on our personal comfort and economic circumstances.  They force us to consider whether we understand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ through Holy Baptism.

It is very interesting to observe how the Lithuanian experience of suffering under the Soviet Union has shaped their response.  Of all people, Lutherans who confess the theology of the cross understand that God is at work in the midst of suffering and hardship.  As we observe the currents of our culture, it is not hard to imagine that hardships will be coming to the Church as she lives in the United States.  We don't want these things. But most likely it is hardship and suffering that can chastise and restrain us as old Adam in ways that allow us as new man to live in faith toward God and love toward our neighbor - especially our fellows Christians (Galatians 6:10).  It is hardship and suffering as the Church that will change our assumptions and expectations about what it means to live as Christians in the world.  If this is God's will, then it will be a good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment