The Church has been blessed, but those blessings must spread outside its walls. The Church has a ministry in its neighborhood. We reach out as believers, eager to share our lives with others. Here is a practical example.
Almost a decade ago, there was a movement that dealt with the rise in motorcycle accidents. It started with a simple billboard campaign, “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” Unlike some ads, this one worked. It got the attention of motorists, and many changed their driving behavior. I became more aware of bikers on the road. That was easy to do, since at the time I lived in Harley country.
“God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
Stop me if you have heard this, “Boy, has this been a difficult season.” That is an attitude I have heard time and time again. I think we have given up on the idea of ever returning to normal, but we should not give up on the Church getting back to what it does best. However, in this season, I wonder if the Church needs a reminder of its purpose.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was wrongly accused and wrongly convicted of a crime He did not commit. The Sanhedrin would go to any means necessary to silence this rabbi, even to the extreme of breaking the Eighth Commandment to have Jesus put to death.
Ann Landers once wrote, “Hatred is like an acid. It can do more damage to the vessel in which it is stored as well than to the object on which it is poured.”
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16)
I had a great conversation with a brother in Christ about Black History Month. He asked me two sincerely heartfelt questions: Why and how should a Lutheran church celebrate Black History Month?
Why the Book of Malachi for this time? Malachi offers a peek into the souls and moods of Israelite men and women. In fact, Malachi’s words are perfectly timed to provide encouragement at a time when God’s people doubted His love for them. The Israelites were centered on their lamentable plight and denied owning up to any displeasing conduct. Hope is a fitting finale to a very trying season in 2020. Many people are troubled, some dealing with loss and grief, and all of us could use a bit of hope. There is a better day coming. And that better day is not based on the outcome of the election, the return of income, or even better health.
In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst Nazi prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea infested.