Rev. Bond Haldeman
Tel 608-208-0283 (mobile)
Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:3-5, NRSV)
As I have often said, Luther really thought that the task of the preacher was to proclaim the Word, and more specifically, the Gospel. The Gospel is the proclamation of God’s grace, free gift, unmerited favor for you for Jesus’ sake. Further, Luther seems to have thought that the people who heard this Word, this Gospel, would be transformed, regenerated, made new, naturally grow into disciples of the One who had wrought such great blessings and good news for them. The first response would be faith, to believe and trust, and then good works would flow forth naturally and uninhibited.
I have often wondered why it seems so difficult for that to happen, why more transformation does not take place. Perhaps there is too much competition against the Word. We are inundated with words. Everyone wants to tell us something, and these days what we hear the most is trivial or fear mongering. Think of the messages you hear in a typical day. The subtext of the morning news, which most often reports only the bad, is that the world is in terrible shape, so much is wrong, and no one seems to be able to do anything about it. We are doomed and there is no hope. At work or school we are always being judged, graded, evaluated, and criticism seems to come more freely that complements. We worry and wonder about our security, whether we are good enough or getting enough done. We come home, and we are assaulted by advertisements that remind us, we are not fit enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not whatever enough, and if we would only buy whatever is being sold, then everything would be okay.
In the midst of all this, the Word of God is drowned out. It is hard to hear and hard to believe in, trust in. Could it really be that God loves us just as we are, even as we are being told that we are not young enough, or beautiful enough, or thin enough, or smart enough, or talented enough? Could it be that God accepts us, even in a world in which even simple respect has to be fought for, or bought, and is always fickle? Could it really be that God gives Eternal Life, even when our lives are constantly assaulted, and our bodies are breaking down? Could it really be that God forgives our sins, faults and failings, even when we are judged by the world, our loved ones, and even ourselves? Advertisers, politicians, and propagandists know that if something is said long enough people will come to believe it.
Believe this: the Gospel, the Good News, of God in Jesus Christ. You are reminded of it each week as we gather around Word and Sacrament. For two-thousand years it has been proclaimed, near and far, and has sustained the Church around the world. God loves you, and wants you to live a new and abundant life in Jesus Christ. God accepts you, and calls you to discipleship of the Lord. God has given you Eternal Life today, and promised resurrection to you hereafter. God forgives you and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit empowers you to love. This is God’s grace for you in Jesus Christ.
The words of the world are many, enticing, and seemingly powerful, but God’s Word is more powerful, bringing creation from chaos, bringing peace from brokenness, bringing life from death. So, who will you believe? Who do you trust? Luther gets the last word from the Small Catechism. “We are to fear love and trust God above all things.” Trust God!Share this with your friends: