Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finger Pointing

One thing we Lutherans are good at is finger pointing. We are quick to point out the faults of others, especially when confronting, what we believe, is errant Christian doctrine. After all, the Protestant Reformation that begat Lutheranism began in 1517 when a priest by the name of Martin Luther, disagreed when the Roman Catholic Church sanctioned indulgences, or buying your way into heaven, and wrote his 95 theses to protest that errant doctrine along with many others. This began a movement away from a doctrine of salvation by works to justification by faith alone, away from the primacy of the Pope to the authority of Scripture alone, or Sola Scriptura. For Lutherans, the Holy Bible contains the word of God that teaches and guides us in our spiritual lives. The Bible is an ancient document. The Old Testament was compiled between 3500 BC and 450 B C, while the New Testament was written in the last half of the 1st century.

President Obama attended Easter worship services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC this year. The presiding minister, Reverend Luis Leon had an interesting sermon for the celebration of our Savior’s Resurrection. Craftily inserted into his message of “Easter vision” was an admonition of the “captains of the religious right”. Apparently, he believed it important enough on a day of celebration, to point his finger at those who uphold the authority of Scripture. He said that the religious right would have Christianity return back, rather than look ahead to the new, to relegating blacks to the back of the bus, women back to the kitchen, gays back into the closet and immigrants back over the border. What his opinion on these issues had to do with his Easter message is beyond me. Finger pointing is obviously not exclusive to Lutherans, nor the religious right.

As a member of that apparently despicable religious right, I do, indeed, want the church to go back:

Back to the preaching of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, more and more come to believe. Luther explained in the Small Catechism, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.”

Back to having all persons, regardless of color, to feel welcome in God's House. I want persons of color to break the chains of dependency to government entitlements and look to be led by God. I want all men, no matter the color of their skin, to have an active part in their families as Spirit led fathers. Hebrews 12:7-11, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Back to having women to be a major part of a vibrant revival, from the pulpit or wherever the talents God has blessed them with can further the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Back to having people from other countries respect the laws of this country and immigrate here legally so that they can be a valuable member of this society and not have to hide in the shadows. 1 Peter 2:13-17, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

And I want the LGTBQ community to be welcomed in God’s house, for their sin is no worse than any other sinner in God’s House. I want the LGTBQ community to forgo their selfish nature and give themselves unconditionally to the Lord. 1 John 1:5-10, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

We are called to be of one mind in Christ. We are called to love one another as Christ loves us. Maybe we do need to go back to the basics of our faith, turn to God and follow His words. Dwell in His word and His path will become clear.

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