Monday, May 25, 2015


Yes that says "morality" and not "mortality." It is easy to get to the two confused. One talks about the way we live and the other talks about the fact that we might not live at all. I would like to address the former and not the latter. But in the end, the one leads to the other according to our Lord or perhaps it would be better to say a lack of the former leads to the latter. Let me explain.

I was reading about the recent vote in Ireland to may same-sex marriage legal. It was an overwhelming vote of 2-1 to legal same sex marriage. I was reading the BBC report on what took place and this sentence struck me: "In Ireland debates about morality tend to be rooted in religion. The discussion about same sex marriage was no exception." I would have to agree with most of this statement. The part that threw me was when in said "debates about morality tend to be rooted in religion." I would have to say that discussion about morality "should" be rooted in religion but in reality they "tend" to be rooted in emotionalism.

What I mean by this is that when one discusses such moral issues as same-sex marriage, abortion, safe sex, race, etc. it is the emotions that tend to guide the discussion. When talking about abortion, the question is asked, "Do you think that an unwanted fetus should be brought into this world only to be abused or neglected by the person who has no time to have a child in her life? Don't you think the woman has the right to do with her body what she wants? Are you trying to tell her how to live her life and what to do with her life?" In the discussion on sex outside of marriage the question is asked, "When two people love each other they should be able to express that love fully and completely in any way that they desire. Who are we to tell someone that they cannot make love with the one they love. Would you want someone telling you that you can't make love to your husband/wife? Why should you tell someone that they cannot make love to the one they love?" That same argument can go with same-sex relationships. "Don't you think that a couple that loves each other should be able to show that great expression of love by being able to marry?"

In the end, the question that trumps all other questions is, "Don't you love that person? Don't you want what is best for them? Then why would you refuse to allow him/her to (fill in the blank)?" It is no longer about what is morally right or wrong but about how you feel about the situation. If you feel it is right, it is right. But you better not feel that it is wrong, for then you unloving, uncaring and a radical right wing person who doesn't care about the other person.

Notice what is missing from the discussion - what does God say? While it says in the article that discussion on morality in Ireland "tend" to involve religion, I would have to say that discussions about morality in the USA "avoid" involving religion. No longer is it asked, "What does God say about this issue?" Even when the question is raised, the answer is given, "How can we know for sure?"

Indeed, how can we know for sure? Through His Word. That is how we know for sure. But can't it be interpreted differently? Sure it can. The reason it is interpreted differently is because we twist and turn the Word of God to fit our situation and when it disagrees with our situation, we ignore it and deny it all together. The people who are in support of same sex marriage accuse Paul of being homophobic (which takes everything he writes out of the discussion) and state that the words of the Old Testament are truncated and no longer applicable to today's world. At that moment, the Word of God is thrown out the window and the discussion returns to emotionalism. It goes back to how you feel about the situation and the only accepted way to feel about it is to accept it. To deny abortion, same-sex marriage, living together outside of marriage, and a whole host of other moral issues means that you are (once again) unloving, uncaring and a right wing radical who doesn't care about the other person.

No longer does the words "Thus says the Lord" carry any weight. No longer is the Word brought forward unless it can be twisted to fit the current moral situation. No longer is morality decided by the words, "I am the Lord" (spoken by God in His Word). Now it is decided by majority vote and by highly emotional discussions. It is legal and right for a same-sex couple to be married because we voted and it is right. No longer does what God say matter.

Morality - leads to mortality. Or perhaps I should say that sinful morality leads to mortality. Because of sin, we are mortal. Because Adam and Eve ate the fruit, we are mortal. Because our lives are guided by sin, we are mortal. We die because of sin. "The wages of sin is death." Why do our loved ones die? Because sin has corrupted our very being and leads to death. That sin leads to warped morality that leads to mortality.

Thanks be to God that He has sent His Son to be our Savior, to pay the price of our sins, to set right our foolishness and to give us forgiveness, life and salvation. Discussions on morality should involve religion but in our world today, they don't. Welcome to the 21st century.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It Makes Me Think

This last weekend was the 7th Sunday of Easter. With this, the Easter season comes to a close. This coming weekend we celebrate the wonder of Pentecost. For most Easter has already faded into the background of life. It isn't an intentional thing that people do. I don't think there are very many Christians who consciously say, "I don't want to celebrate Easter any longer. It happened. It is over. Let's move on." I would imagine that if asked, most people would say that they hadn't even given it much thought at all. When they come to worship and hear the announcement: "The first reading for this, the 7th (or 2nd or 3rd or 5th) Sunday of Easter is..." they probably think to themselves, "Oh yeah, it is still the Easter season." So why do we forget about Easter so easily?

Life. Life gets in the way. Unless you are one of us preacher types (I mean that in the kindest way, speaking of pastors and other church professionals who spend our days leading people in the way of the Lord), you have a life outside of the church building. I imagine that you enjoy worship (I hope you are attending worship where you do enjoy the time you have in worship, whether it is traditional Lutheran, high church Lutheran or contemporary church Lutheran). Worship is that time when you can join with your fellow Christians in praising the Lord with words of songs, hymns and spiritual songs. It is a time when you can be fed from Word and Sacrament. It is a time when the pastor can proclaim the Law and Gospel in a powerful, uplifting sermon. It is a place where you can join your heart with other believers in words of prayer. Worship is that time that takes us away from the pressures of the common life.

But life gets in the way the rest of the time. You have to get up and go to work. The kids need to go to school and because it is the end of the school year, there are field trips, game days, special lunches and a whole host of other events that demand your time and attention. (Believe it or not, that is what happens in a pastor's household too!) Then there is the yard that needs attention - grass to mow, weeds to pull, ground to till, garden to plant, flowers to end and a whole host of other outdoor things that need to be done as spring turns to summer and the days get longer and warmer. Don't forget to wash the windows, clean the house and take care of the general needs of the family that never seem to stop.You know what I am talking about - life.

Life continues on it seems so hard to remember that it was the 7th Sunday of Easter. The celebration continues on, even now, 40+ days after Easter. How can you celebrate when you have all those other things going on?

And I think, that is exactly why our Lord came into this world as a man, taking on that which we face each day. He faced it. He had the pressures of day-to-day living. Moving from place to place, town to town, situation to situation, Jesus understands exactly what you are going through. This one is sick. This one is suffering. Don't forget the leper who is dying and the woman caught in adultery.Plus the pharisees who wanted to trap Him and the chief priests who wanted to stop Him from teaching and preaching. Then there was...the list could go on. Jesus understands the life you live. That, my friend, is why He came. He knows your struggles. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your (gasp) sin.

That is what makes Easter so absolutely wonderful. Even if we get busy with life and forget that we are still in the Easter season, the outcome of all Jesus did still is the same. Your remembering or your forgetting because of life, doesn't change what He did for you. He lived, died, and rose again for you, for your salvation, to give you what you need - forgiveness, life and salvation. Even if you forget because you are busy, that doesn't mean you have lost those gifts He has given you. It just reminds you that is why we go back to worship week after week - because we do have lives that cause us to let this great news slip from the front part of our thoughts. We return to worship to be reminded that our Lord loves us and hasn't forgotten us in the midst of our lives.

Yes, it is still Easter. It will be Easter even when Pentecost arrives. It will still be Easter through the long green season that is coming. It is Easter everyday for Christ is alive. He lives for us. (And to think, I had plans to write a whole different thing. Yep, Easter has a way of changing what our plans might be.)