Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This is Normal

In my early morning ponderings, I thought once again of the discord and strife within the Church at large, within Lutheranism, within the Synod, even the strife I have seen within congregations - and it was on the verge of getting me all depressed. I mean, we see so much foolishness and tomfoolery. Everyone does what they want with no regard to what Scripture says. Everyone acts how they wish regardless of how their actions will impact their neighbor - will impact those they have agreed to walk together with.

And thinking about things - seeing all the chaos and confusion - I was thinking to myself in a most self-pitying way, "Surely, there has not been a more wretched time in the history of the Church." And then, the saving grace, that got me thinking about Church History.

I didn't live through the 70s and the walkout - that must have been rough.

The collapses of the Synodical Conference, in the 50s and then the 1880s, that must have been heartbreaking.

The thought that one needed to flee one's homeland to hold to the truth of God's Word - ugh.

The Silver and Golden Ages of Orthodoxy - where works were written to combat the most belligerent of foes while people bled out for the faith.

The days where opposing authority got you burned at the stake, even when you had a writ of safe passage (because who needs to keep a promise to a "heretic"?)

The vile divorce between East and West, more about power and ego than anything else.

The fighting over and over in the East at the later councils - and this with the Muslim hordes taking over their land.

The great heresies of the Creeds - and mobs singing false doctrine.

The Early Church, watered by the blood of the Martyrs.

Our Lord Himself, nailed to a tree for doing no wrong.

Yet even before - Jeremiah preaching even as he is dragged off to Egypt. Or what Isaiah saw - or Elijah. . .

The Kingdom divided.

The King Saul consorting with soothsayers.

The people of Israel abandoning God over and over even with the judges.

The people at Sinai choosing a golden calf over the God who had passed over them.

The tower of Babel, built 100 years after the flood, with all the eye witnesses still around.

Cain slays his brother Abel.

And so it has been since the fall. "And everyone did what was right in his own eyes". The curse of sin is the curse of being a law unto yourself - caring for neither neighbor nor God.

The things we see - the struggles, the trials we face - these are not exceptional - they are normal. They are the things that happen, even to God's people, in a sinful world. And God preserved the saints who went before us through their trials. So shall by the strength of His Word He will preserve us. Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word.


Scott Diekmann said...

Great post!

Rev Rydecki said...

Thanks for those words. Very timely indeed.

But not very peppy. Where's the theology of glory? You'd think we lived under the cross or something!

If you're not sick to death of Latin (or of me, after the record number of comments recently), here's a section from Augustine that I find comforting.

Nunc Christus habet in nobis sedem, aedificata est sedes eius in nobis...Sedet ergo in nobis, regnans in nobis: sedet etiam in alia generatione, quae fuerit ex resurrectione mortuorum. In aeternum Christus regnabit in sanctis suis. Hoc promisit Deus, hoc dixit Deus: si parum est, hoc iuravit Deus. Quia ergo non secundum merita nostra, sed secundum illius misericordiam firma est promissio; nemo debet cum trepidatione praedicare, unde non potest dubitare.