Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mark's thoughts: It's just that simple

From the time I graduated from high school, I have devoted great time and effort during my life in order to learn various languages so that I can read the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and works of scholarship.  I have worked to learn about the Scriptures, theology, and the history of the Church.  This has produced many benefits and blessings in my work as a parish pastor.

However, I have learned that when facing grave and serious circumstances, these things don’t really matter all that much.  In fact, in those situations what really matters is very simple.  I have often been struck by this fact when ministering to others.  I am again aware of this as I contemplate a number of members of my congregation who are facing serious health issues.

Apart from the root cause of the Fall and sin, we cannot explain why these things happen.  God promises no answers on this.  The only answer he has given is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is this that provides the assurance that God is still present and at work in our life no matter how the situation may appear.  As Jesus hung on the cross on Good Friday, it appeared that God was nowhere to be found in the midst of failure, suffering and defeat.  Yet the resurrection on Easter demonstrated that the cross had in fact been his most powerful action to save us.  Because we have seen God work in this way through Christ, we can trust that his love and care is true for us, even if the circumstances seem to provide little evidence for this.

This faith is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Christ’s resurrection is all that matters. St. Paul put it this way: “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:8-9).  Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.  This is the living hope that carries us through the vicissitudes of life.  Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.  This conquers death and guarantees that our Lord Jesus will raise us on the Last Day and “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:21).  Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. This is all that really matters. It’s just that simple And in that, we have everything we need.    


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