A Picture of Christian Vocation in Action

D-Day-Mass

On this anniversary of D-Day, I came across a picture of that day that illustrates the vocation of the Christian so very well.

The vocation of the Christian is 1) repenting and faithfully receiving forgiveness from Christ in Word and Sacrament, and 2) serving the neighbor in love through whatever other vocations the Lord has put us in.

After the landing and battle; after the soldiers have done their duty in serving their neighbor, they gather together and are served by our Lord Himself in His word of forgiveness preached and in His Body and Blood of forgiveness fed.

How amazing and merciful our Lord is!

Thrivent Reinstates Funding to Crisis Pregnancy Centers – An Open Letter

bigstock_Falling_Money_669153Dear Mr. Hewitt and Thrivent Board Members,

Imagine my pleasant surprise when today, while doing some research for a follow-up article on Thrivent’s neutrality policy, I discovered that a bit more than 70% of the pro-life organizations that Thrivent had kicked out of their charitable giving programs in the name of “neutrality” have been quietly reinstated.

Thanks be to God! Wonderful organizations that are serving men, women, and children in their time of need are again eligible for Thrivent Choice dollars as well as other Thrivent charitable giving programs. This is a great first step for Thrivent. I do wonder why you are being so quiet about it; nevertheless it is very good to see.

Now for the next step. The faithful organizations that provide education about life and bioethics issues should be reinstated. These organizations are doing faithful, Christian work. They are providing resources to men, women, and children – Christian or not – in times of great need. These organizations are:

These organizations are not political, but instead exist to provide the truth about life issues to Thrivent’s Lutheran Members. I can see no reason they should not also be reinstated, given that what they do is in many ways indistinguishable from the life-issues education I provide in my congregation, and as many other congregations are also providing on a regular and ongoing basis (all receiving Thrivent funds, by the way!) As Rev. Matthew Harrison stated, “the LCMS and every one of its entities and congregations are both pro-life and nonprofit, so we certainly hope that Thrivent will continue to support such pro-life, nonprofit organizations.”

There are a few other organizations that have yet to be reinstated. I hope it’s only a matter of time before they too can receive Thrivent funding. According to my information, they are:

  • CareNet Pregnancy Services of DuPage County, Downers Grove, IL
  • Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater, Chesapeake, VA
  • Harbor Lights Pregnancy and Information Center, East Tawas, MI
  • Pregnancy Assistance Center North, Conroe, TX
  • Pregnancy Care Center, Fresno, CA
  • Pregnancy Support Center, Canton, OH
  • Sanctity of Human Life Network, Fair Oaks, CA

The Triune God whom all Thrivent Members confess in the Apostles’ Creed is pro-life. Full stop. It is our privilege as God’s people to imitate Him in serving our neighbors in order to promote and protect life. I hope you will continue in this positive direction. This is my ongoing prayer. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Rev. Michael Schuermann

 


 

This is an open letter. Feel free to use it yourself to send to Thrivent CEO Brad Hewitt and the Thrivent Board of Directors. Thrivent is listening to Thrivent Members. Thrivent Members, make your voices heard.

Brad Hewitt, CEO
Thrivent Financial
625 Fourth Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1624

Sermo Dei: Resurrection

Text: Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

The will of man shall never overpower the will of God. Today we hear the proof of this.

Man’s will was to elevate himself, reject God, and then make a new god in man’s own image. This is the god who grants you whatever your heart desires. This is the god who smiles approvingly at however you decide to live your life.

When the true God breaks into our false lives, we push back all the more. We’re so deluded that we’re convinced we can keep Him out. If we have to, we’ll declare Him dead.

Man will kill God if he must. And so we did. The will of man is to sin, declare it freedom and enlightenment, and thus imagine that we’ve “grown up” from the fairytales of God. In our will to sin, we killed God. We crucified The Lord of Life by hanging Him on a tree. Our will did this. Our sin did this.

But He did not stay dead. For it was the will of God that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, would die for the sin of all. Our will killed Him, but it was God’s will all along that He should die.

For natural man, death is the end. But not for God. For when the women went to the tomb, they did not find the Son of God dead. Instead they received the wondrous good news: “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”

The will of man shall never overpower the will of God, for it is God’s will that the Lamb who was slain now has begun His reign!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

The work of Satan shall never overpower the work of God. Today we hear the proof of this.

Satan’s will was also to defeat God by killing His Beloved Son. Satan entered into Judas, so that Jesus would be betrayed. Satan sifted Peter like wheat, that he too would deny Jesus and despair. Satan worked through His children, the teachers and leaders of the Jews, so that they would arrest Jesus and hand Him over. Satan acted through a Roman governor who would rather guard his job and life than free an innocent man, even in the face of city-wide upheaval.

In Satan’s domain did the hosts shout and jeer, / For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones fear. Satan had the victory, he thought. He had manipulated God’s creatures into even rejecting their own Messiah. Just as in Eden so long ago, His twisting and lying had again brought condemnation to humanity.

But the will of God should have been apparent to Satan. God had laid it all out, creating the system of sacrifices that showed anyone who would listen exactly how He planned to forgive sins. As clever as Satan thought he was, God had the upper hand.

“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was slaughtered. The will of God was to crush Jesus. The will of God was to cast Him off into death. The will of God was to make Jesus as one untimely born, one who appears to by no means be the way, or the truth, or the life, one whom to look upon is unbearable.

Satan’s seeming victory is his complete defeat. For again, the Good News at the tomb: “He has risen; he is not here.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Death and the grave shall never overpower God and life. Today we hear the proof of this.

Death and the grave had claimed their most precious prize. Into the tomb was laid the body of the Son of God, lifeless, cold, dead. The Creator was subsumed into His creation. The Light of life was taken away to where there is no light nor life. The gates of hell had seemingly prevailed against the kingdom of God.

And yet on the third day light crept back in. Breath was drawn. Lifeblood flowed through His veins. Warmth and color returned to His skin. The stone was rolled away. The gravecloths, those marks of slavery to death, were cast aside and laid there in the tomb to stay. The Suffering Servant emerged as the King of all creation.

O grave, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? It has been stolen from you, ripped away and cast aside to never be useful again. Death has no power. The grave has no terror to cast upon us any longer. For the One Man has stepped out of you, being raised by God from the dead.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Let us hear this marvelous good news:

The will of God is that sin would be forgiven. And it is. For Christ has died and Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The will of God is that Satan would have no power of you. His accusations are all empty words. His lies are exposed to be only that – untruths now completely exposed in the One who is The Truth. For Christ has given Himself into death and Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The will of God is that death and the grave are no longer the gaping maw of hopelessness and meaninglessness and terror for mankind. For Christ has died and has entered there. He has declared His victory to the spirits in prison. He has descended into the place of the dead and has emerged forth victorious, glorified, and oh-so-very-much alive.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Dear beloved, today listen and hear that this good news is also for you. Lay hold of this promise. Believe it. For where Christ has trod you do not have to go. Satan is powerless over you. The Holy Spirit has been given to you, that you would seek to align your will with God’s. The grave has no hold on you any longer. You will merely fall asleep, and when Christ calls out on the Last Day you will awaken. And your eyes shall behold Him, and not another. Only Jesus, the Christ, who has died your death and has been raised just as you will be.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Amen.