A large body of my work has been warning about the inaction of the church and its refusal to “Do The Right Thing” when it comes to the CEF / DIL survivors. While I believe the church’s (in)action will be a stain on LCC’s history for generations to come, to a certain extent I can understand the reasoning behind their silence. If I was involved in something like this and my lawyers told me to clam up and not say anything lest my opponents used what I said against me, I’d be tempted to turn my back on the damage I’d done too.
The thing is – as Christians we’re to walk in faith and part of walking in faith is trusting the Lord will take care of things no matter how badly we’ve messed up. This is particularly true when the results of one’s actions demands punishment.
Such was a choice David had to make after he despised the command of the Lord by ordering a census of the children of Israel. The Lord sent Gad the prophet to David and gave him the choice of three possible punishments:
11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will: 12 either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.”
Even when he stood accused and convicted of a grievous sin against the Lord, David’s faith in the Lord remained firm:
13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 1 Corinthians 21:11-3
The angel of the Lord then proceeded to kill 70,000 people of Israel, and when David saw this same angel standing over Jerusalem with sword in hand he didn’t equivocate, he didn’t make excuses, and he didn’t do anything less than completely and unreservedly own his actions and the punishment it deserved:
17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.” 1 Chronicles 21:17
Hebrews 11:1 – 12:2 recounts the deeds and endurance of similar people of faith, people that were used of God to accomplish great deeds of strength, justice, leadership, or who bore witness through their patient endurance of unspeakable persecution.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.
21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith
- conquered kingdoms,
- enforced justice,
- obtained promises,
- stopped the mouths of lions,
- 34 quenched the power of fire,
- escaped the edge of the sword,
- were made strong out of weakness,
- became mighty in war,
- put foreign armies to flight.
- 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection.
- Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
- 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37
- They were stoned,
- they were sawn in two,a]”>[a]
- they were killed with the sword.
- They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I’ll end this with a question for you to ponder. There is one action that’s considered front and center of modern day Lutheranism that is conspicuous by its omission from this list.
What is it?
If you care to leave a guess in the comments, I’ll discuss it in a future segment .:)