Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. (ESV)
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St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
21 September 2015
When I was in Germany in the spring, Hans-Jörg Voigt, the soft-spoken bishop of the Free Lutheran Church in Germany, expressed repentance for the death camps used by the Nazis to exterminate millions of people who were considered genetically or politically inferior, even though Bishop Voigt was born in the 1950s, long after WWII. He understood that there is a collective responsibility for the slaughter perpetrated during WWII. If the Germans can confess collective guilt, why can't we? Let us repent of our complicity in abortion.
When a woman who has had an abortion comes to me and confesses her sin, she is not only confessing her sin, but my own. Her repentance rips at her heart. It tears at my ears. For her voice is my voice. Her sin is my sin, because I am complicit. Silence is complicity. As Senator Mike Lee said on the floor of the US Senate some days ago, "In the case of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos in the court of public opinion (as they taught me in law school), qui tacit consentire videtur: the media's silence indicates their consent." But what is good for the media is good for me too! I need to repent of my complicity, because I have been silent.
God will not remain silent while we do. He has continued to deliver the story of the cross. It gets sin out in the open. What rips our ears and tears our hearts, open His veins. There can be no moral cover-up. God uncovers our sin and places it on the Messiah-King who is crucified for sinners.
Many people say, but pastor, what can I do? I feel so helpless! What can you do? Show love and compassion to those who are suffering over their abortion or their part in one. With the count of the dead now at 57 million there are plenty of people to comfort!
I believe that many who have had abortions, performed abortions, aided and abetted the abortion industry, or encouraged another to have an abortion, bear a horrifying load of guilt. Many feel cornered into supporting this practice as a religious good because they don't know of the God who sends His Son to suffer on a cross to pay even for the sin of abortion. Christ pays for the sin of abortionists, those who helped a woman decide to abort, those who sort through the mangled body parts for useful pieces, those who carry the trays of the remains, those who run the abortion mills, those who write the talking points covering genocide, for those who have believed the lies told about their beautiful children and have submitted to abortion, and those who have been silently complicit. Jesus has died for all sins, and not just for ours only, but even for the sins of the whole world (1Jn 2:2).
You can embrace a sobbing friend who is still grieving over the loss of her child even years later and comfort her with the loving forgiveness of Jesus. Tell her that Jesus died for her. Tell her that her sin cannot overcome the mercy of a God who came into our slaughter-darkened world to be slaughtered for her. Christ calls and embraces with blood-bought forgiveness great sinners; great sinners like us.
"[God] calls Paul to the apostolate of the heathen, a very wicked man, a murderer, a blasphemer, one who is inflamed with hatred for Christ and for His church. God could have called one of the seventy-two (Lk 10:1) or some other excellent man; but He does not do this, obviously in order to reveal to us His superabundant mercy.
"Furthermore, these words are written, not in order that the ungodly may be confirmed in their ungodliness and sin all the more wantonly, but in order that the fainthearted and fearful, who are tempted to despair because of their sins, may find comfort and, encouraged by such examples, may learn to place their hope in such a merciful God. For God's wrath and sin are intense, and the conscience cannot bear His wrath unless it is buoyed up by the Word of God. We need examples like these to show that the mercy of God is boundless, so that we may hope for pardon and call upon God.
"It is a great and inexpressible gift that Abraham is physically the father of the Son of God. But what is the beginning of this honor? That Abraham is an idolater and a very great sinner, who worships a God he does not know! The Son of God wants this ancestor in His line of descent to be exalted, just as other ancestors of Christ are noted for their great sins."
Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 12.1
Collect for St. Matthew
O Son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist. Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For those who are agonizing over their abortion decision, that they might be brought to repentance and into the all-cleansing blood of Christ
For the Council of Presidents of the LCMS meeting this week, that its members might be strengthened in their confession of the truth
For the right to life organizations that are serving life, that they might be confirmed in their labors and enduringly faithful to the needs of unborn children, the infirm, and the elderly
Art: Dürer, Albrecht The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)
© Scott R. Murray, 2015