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Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 2013


Martin Luther famously said, "The entire life of the Christian is repentance." I would like to amend that a bit and say, "The entire life of your pastor is repentance." And here is why I am repenting to you today: In a recent newsletter article, I promised to begin writing and emailing weekly articles on Luther's Catechisms. To date, I have not written one. I am sorry. I do not like going back on my word. I have just not had the time to do it. I hope to begin this project soon, but I make no promise here. After all, we know how good my promises in Pastor's Columns turn out!

My excuse is, of course, that I don't have the time. I have been thinking a great deal about that statement, "I don't have time." Who of us does? It seems that no one has time to do anything these days. We are all overwhelmed. Our schedules are busy. From school to work to sports to volunteering at given events to making time for friends, and so on, we are all very busy. Our hope is that one day we can retire so we have all the time in the world to do what we want (though, I do hope to start writing before I retire!). However, I hear regularly from the folks around here who are retired that they are busier than ever. I wonder, will we ever have the time?

Well, actually, no! But, perhaps that is because time is not ours to have because time is not ours period. Time belongs to God. He made it. It is His. We might want to think of it this way: we don't have time, but we are living in God's time. He created time in Genesis one when He spoke into the chaos and said, "'Let there be light', and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5) God spoke day and night, that is, time into existence. Time is His to have, and we live in it.

All of this is a bit intimidating. After all, the God who beholds time has granted me time in His good creation. He has given me time to carry out the various "vocations" he has granted me. Vocation is a term theologians like to throw around which refers, not merely to my job (though it includes this), but all the relationships I am responsible for. So, my various vocations would be: husband, father, son, in-law, pastor, friend, citizen, and so on. These are the vocations God has "called" me to. As a husband, I have responsibilities towards my wife. As a father I have responsibilities towards my children. As a pastor I have responsibilities towards you. As a citizen I have responsibilities towards my country, city, etc. God has placed me in each of these relationships and I am to use my time in such a way that I carry out my callings in a faithful and loving manner. Here, in real time, God is calling me to love my neighbor. Having a calling gives me a framework of how I am to use God's time.

So, how are you doing with God's time? If you are anything like me, you are struggling, or at least you feel like you are struggling. We write schedules and make calendars in an attempt to control God's time, but it always seems to escape us (as if it were in our grasp in the first place). As a result, our relationships suffer, our stress level rises, and the demands just seem to increase. The "gift" of time begins to seem like a slave driver!

Perhaps it will bring comfort to know how God spends His time. It is, after all, His time. He who is outside of time and free from the bonds of our earthly vocations made a pretty amazing move. The Lord of eternity decided to enter into time roughly 2000 years ago. Paul says, "But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." (Galatians 4:4-5) He spent His time doing everything God would have Him do: loving, serving, healing, preaching Good News, and forgiving. His was a vocation no one of us has been given: Savior of the world. God in flesh, God in time, Jesus Christ, took time on a Friday afternoon and died. The light He made went out. And the oppression of time on sinners ended. Three days later, when He rose from the dead, He opened up the gates of eternity to us. Can you imagine? Eternity! No schedules, no deadlines, no rushing around. Nothing but time to sing, to dance, to love, and most importantly, to worship. It is with great joy that we anticipate this eternal, good time! Who knows, I may even find time to start writing about the catechism!


Pastor Bob

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