“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
While listening to a Christian radio station last night the speaker spent twenty-five minutes preaching law and quoting scripture. The speaker was not aligned with any specific church but seemed to be focused on ‘scaring’ people to repent of their sins. The attached photo is of Pastor Thomas Bernard from Bon Berger Lutheran Church and School in Caredeux which is a suburb of Port-au-Prince. He is teaching a Sunday morning Bible study group ‘Law and Gospel’ from the Lutheran Catechism. Whether sitting in a Lutheran church in Illinois or in Caredeux the balance was the same. Luther taught balance…always balance. If you only hear the tough ‘Law’ stuff it can make people cold, distant, intolerant and unbearable. Hearing both tends to mold a person to be gentle, thoughtful, teachable and considerate.
The words of Ambrose in the Book of Concord support this balance; he denies justification to words and ascribes it to faith which liberates us through the blood of Jesus Christ. This balance is so important to our heritage and to the young children and adults living Haiti who are hearing this teaching…for the first time. There is a short hymn in the ‘Old’ Lutheran Hymnal titled ‘God’s Word is our great heritage’ that was written by Nikolai Grundtvig in 1817 and will close this message.
“God's Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever; to spread its light from age to age shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way, in death it is our stay. Lord, grant, while worlds endure, we keep its teachings pure throughout all generations.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay