Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and the Republican Rustler
Though the whole world may have changed - nothing else has!
The court has spoken. And it has spoken absolute nonsense. For of course it makes no sense that it should be my constitutional right to marry somebody to whom I could not possibly be married, because being married means something else, and the most I could ever have with that somebody would be something other than marriage.
Even though the ruling could hardly be considered surprising, it seems, nevertheless, to have left believers somewhat bewildered. And rightfully so, one would have to say – and wrongfully, as well.
It is no wonder that Christians cannot help but wonder what the future holds, and wonder how they should respond to whatever the future may hold – along with the followers of other religions that reflect natural law in their understanding of marriage.
Christians should know better, however, than to panic, and to think that everything will have to be completely different from now on. Christians should know that there is really nothing new under the sun.
What Christians should do is to look to Christ; as always. For whatever the future may hold, it is all in His hands; it always was, and it always will be. In that regard nothing has changed; nothing ever will.
The life He gives to His Church and His Christians is the same as it always was. And the life into which He calls His Church and His Christians is also the same as it always was. It is the life in His Word and worship, in which Christians look to Him and seek His mercy, and in which He gives Himself to His Christians, and His heavenly Kingdom and His eternal life, through the forgiveness of sins which He has won for us sinners with His sufferings and death.
His Word and worship was always the life of His Church, as different as her life conditions have been through her history. His Word and worship is the life of His Christians all over the world today, as different as the circumstances are, in which they live. His Word and worship will be the life of His Church, even if our situation in this country should change so that Christians will be prosecuted and persecuted for refusing to celebrate that which goes against the will of God, as His will is revealed in natural law, and in Holy Scripture.
Perhaps this is the most important thing about the current cultural changes in common culture, reflected in the recent decision of the US Supreme Court: perhaps it will force Christians to awake to a new awareness of what the faith is, and the life of the Church.
Good morals in society is not what the Church is there for. And therefore she does not need the government to support her in this regard, either, by forcing unbelievers or those of different belief to live and behave as if they were actually Christian. The Church of Christ is there for the salvation of sinners, including the sinners that are the Church, and Christ Himself is that salvation. It seems that this has been forgotten by many Christians through those years when Western governments and common culture would promote the values and morals taught by tradition and natural law - which were, of course, similar to the values and morals taught in Holy Scripture.
Now the meaning of marriage has been lost to common culture, and clearly even to the majority of those sitting on the US Supreme Court; and this presents a call to repent for the Church of Christ having failed to teach it clearly, and for His Christians having failed to honour marriage as His sacred ordinance of love, often setting His teachings of loving sacrifice of self aside, or taking them much too lightly.
And the Church having lost so much of her previous prestige in recent years would be a good reason to repent for having presumed on that prestige. So often we have failed to reach out to the world with love; instead we have often let it seem - and perhaps we have even allowed ourselves to believe it - that we were better than those to whom we should have presented His love for sinners such as ourselves.
The current situation stands as a call to Christians for repentance and return to Christ. It calls us to seek life in Him, and in Him alone, in His Word and worship, and to repent for our failure to do so. It calls us to surrender to His love and give ourselves over to Him in service to His love. It calls for us to trust in Him to care and provide for His Church, and for me, and make all things well, whatever circumstances He will allow to fall upon us. But then, that was always His call to His Church, and to His Christians, and our life as His Church and His Christians. What the situation calls for is for His Church and His Christians to be exactly that. It is all business as usual.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem