Verse of the Day

   Conference Postponed until 2021

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                       The Blessings of God's Way

 

In the Genesis account of creation, three times Moses records: “God blessed.” First, “God blessed them,” referring to the creatures of the sea and air; second, God blessed them,” referring to man and woman; third, “God blessed the seventh day,” referring to the day He rested after all that He created was declared “very good” (Gen. 1:22, 28, 2:3, & 1:31, NKJV). All are important to our Creator, but it is the third reference that has especially grabbed our attention during these days of COVID-19, with its stay at home orders, social distancing, and other restrictions and cautions that have come down the pike in the weeks and months since late January.

 

We know the Creator God blessed the creatures that they might “be fruitful and multiply” to fill the sea and air. He did the same for man and woman, His personal representatives on earth, which He created not only to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it,” but also to “have dominion … over every living thing that moves on earth.” From the beginning, God's way of blessing humanity has been for us to be progenitive and propagative, to bring the earth into bondage, and to rule the things of creation in God's stead.

 

That brings us to what saddens and troubles us greatly about the United States of America, not just in these days of COVID-19, but for several decades now. The blessings of God's way of repopulating and filling the earth have been spurned and denigrated by vast swaths of the American populace who, among other atrocities, support abortion on demand — with many going so far as to demand it long after the baby in the womb can feel pain or is sufficiently developed to be viable outside the womb! The blessings of God's way of bringing the earth into bondage for the sake of His crown of creation — mankind — has been severely hampered by numerous outlying animal rights and hyperactive environmental groups for many, many years now! Finally, the blessings of God's way of ruling the things of creation in His stead for the good of humanity have been distorted and abused by an inordinate appeal to science as the end all, be all solution of virtually everything!

 

While this rejecting of the blessings of God's way in the civil realm is disturbing enough, it pales in comparison to what has taken place in the Church visible on earth. The discord, division, disunity, and denial of critical and important doctrines (teachings) essential to the historic Christian faith is appalling, and worthy of God's judgment and wrath. Even in our own beloved Synod the fractures and disruptions experienced since at least the Seminex controversy of the 1970s is painful for us pastors and congregations who, with deep sincerity, take our vows to adhere to God's Word and The Lutheran Confessions at all costs.

 

All these ways in which mankind has rejected what God intended for our blessing have been stark reminders of the great benefits many have been deprived of over the past few months where we have been unable to gather as the body of Christ in normal fashion. The need and desire of Christians to gather together — to praise the Triune God; to listen to Christ, our Head; to receive His gifts of forgiveness and salvation; to express love and concern for one another; to calm our fears and give voice to our joys — is deep and insatiable. The Psalmist (David) said it best: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1, NKJV)! But he doesn't end there. He continues by likening how good and how pleasant it is to two things. First, the oil of anointing as was poured on the head in the act of consecrating the high priest. Second, the snow-covered heights of Mt. Hermon that yielded heavy precipitation of moisture to the surrounding area. Both of these comparisons are meant to bring “refreshment and blessings, just as the manifestation of brotherly unity results in blessings for the Church and its members” (Kretzmann). David then concludes on the basis of these two comparisons: “For there the Lord commanded the blessing — Life forevermore” (vs. 3, NKJV).

 

Truly, the greatest blessing of God from the beginning, is that every man, woman, and child have everlasting life. And this is precisely what Christ accomplished and earned for one and all in His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father. And it is exactly the work of the Church (both gathered and scattered) to bring this unifying message of promise and hope to all mankind.

 

Yes, it has been a dry and arid time for the Church gathered this spring, both in our congregations and in the canceling of many conferences, including our own! But on account of Christ, hope springs eternal. While each state, community, and congregation has handled matters differently according to local conditions we pray that very soon all of our congregations will again be gathering together in unity to receive the blessings of God's way in Word and Sacrament as we have been called and invited to do until Christ returns to take us to Himself in His Father's House!

 

In the meantime, we urge you to consider joining the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations as we remember and press on in these trying times evermore “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:3-6, NKJV).

 

In Christ and His Service,

ACELC Board of Directors

       

 

                                                    


 

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