Pastor Mark Anderson
Welcome to another day of Covid entanglements; stresses that won’t quit, shameless politics (on all sides), wars and rumors of wars, injustices, poverty, blistering heat and the overall general mayhem the world is more than ready to provide. Into this tangled skein of the world’s madness, let us see if we cannot clear a little space for an actually promising word that does not spin, lie, discourage or deceive.
Words of cheap comfort in days like these reveal themselves for what they truly are, cheap. Even the appeal to God can be nothing more than a thin soup. A kind of bland diet that helps us cope with what is happening until things blow over, if they do blow over. Now there is a thought. What if we are actually stuck in this world of mayhem and deception. And that is the point. We are. If and when the Corona virus blows over, all the remaining less than happy characteristics of life I mentioned above, and more, will be with us in full force.
So God enters the picture but not with philosophical wisdom to give us a stiff upper lip, or pious calls to have more faith as if there is some way out of this if we just believed enough. God enters life, your life, with a Word, the Word which is utterly devoid of lies, deceptions or cheap distractions. And that Word is the True Word, Jesus Christ Himself, given to you in baptism’s promises. Dying and living with Jesus – that’s what Paul called it. In your baptism the Living God came and reclaimed you as His own. And His promise to you in your baptism is that like your Lord, you will endure the harshness, deceptions and demonic clutter that so often accompany this life. That’s the dying we must endure, we must live in. At the same time, Paul teaches us that baptism’s promise is full of life and hope, the very same life and hope that was brought your Lord Jesus out of the darkness of His tomb into the blinding light of God’s rock-solid Word of promise and a real future.
This Word of promise that comes to you from outside, from God to you, is the one Word upon which you may absolutely rely and is your best defense against the temptations to nihilism and despair which are on your hands these days. I turn to this Word daily and find great comfort, hope and assurance there. God has given you your baptism so that in trusting that His Word was actually in the water and the word FOR YOU, it might create a living, hopeful faith – and it does. Baptism, as Luther often said, gives you a gift of God you may believe in.
So, dearly beloved, in these days of trial and testing, go to where God wants you to find Him; return to the promises of God’s Word in your baptism, for it is that word that saves you; now, in the midst of the storm, and tomorrow when you, together with all God’s people, will enter the perfect joy of God’s eternal kingdom and the place He has prepared – for you.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”