Faith in a Time of National Crisis

As we all absorb the events of Wednesday in our nation’s capitol, our faith can help guide our thoughts and actions:

+++We are first and foremost followers of Jesus. We remember his words about loving our enemies and loving our neighbors as ourselves. When Peter cuts off the ear of the high priest’s slave in an effort to defend Jesus from arrest, Jesus tells him to put his sword away. Jesus does not lead mobs, even though he has lots of opportunity. Rather, he keeps engaging his enemies, and never backs down.

Let us pray that Americans of both parties who care about democracy will find courage to engage the enemy, even at a cost to themselves.

+++Lutherans always say that the gospel message of grace and mercy is tempered by the demands of the law. Throughout the scriptural story, God exercises both to achieve the divine goal of justice in our lives and salvation for those who seek to be part of the kingdom of God.

Trump’s followers are bitterly disappointed by the election outcome. Many suffer from living their lives in poverty and fear; fear of losing what they have, which includes privilege gained through systemic racism. We should offer grace to our neighbors who differ from us politically. But, racist ideology, destructive rhetoric and incitement to violence must be challenged for the sake of our neighbor. So too, violence against individuals and governmental institutions demands the law be brought to bear.

Let us pray that Americans of both parties who care about justice will support those who are on the front lines defending people from rioters; deal fairly with those who engage in violence; and support legislation in the next months that will make life better for poor Americans.

+++Over and over in the gospels, Jesus says to his disciples, Do not be afraid. As disciples in this frightening time,

Let us pray for courage, strength, patience, endurance…for what else do we need to ask?

Lutherans believe we are part of the priesthood of all believers. Engage. Reach out. Pray. If you’d like to pray with others, join the online prayer group this Saturday at 2pm, or check in with others in the community at 4pm.

Isaiah spoke these words he received from God:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. “

Remember that you belong to God,
Pastors Goede and Stuhlmuller