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Psalm 13:1-6
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,  lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Bite the Wolf
Wednesday after the the Baptism of our Lord
13 January 2016
Public sin in the church can be quite demoralizing to the faithful living under the cross. I have watched the faces of lay people fall in remorse and grief when they become aware that church leaders are not putting into practice the faith of the church, but are permitting public disgrace to go on unchecked with a wink and a nod. As church leaders, our casual approach to what offends the sheep is deeply offensive to our Good Shepherd and to those little lambs who hear His voice. The silence of pastors about public sin is not keeping the eighth commandment ("Don't disclose the sins of others."), but is the stealthy stalking of the wolf in the flock. No stalking wolf howls until it is too late for the sheep.
Wolfish wickedness would also command the faithful to keep their mouths shut. It is the silence of the lambs that makes them food for the wolf. The silence of church leaders in the face of public sin breaks the eighth commandment because it hurts the little sheep by accommodating the wolf. God expects us to cry "Wolf!" to protect His little ones. Wolves would prefer the shepherds to be quiet.
When faithful shepherds rise up to repel the wolf, rapping the shepherd's staff upon his blood soaked snout to drive him away from the little lambs, often they are decried as the very troublers of Israel. However, isn't this what the Lord calls the shepherds to do? His call to rebuke public sin is a gracious gift to the church. Such rebuke is not grace to the one rebuked, but law. The wolf will howl woundedly when the shepherd rebukes his attacks on the sheep. To those who are protected by such rebuke it is certainly grace. Being saved from the slavering jaws of the wolf is a good thing (really!). Just ask any sheep. Only in the topsy-turvy world of modern thinking is the silence of the lambs a good thing. It is no surprise that the world and the wolf agree about this and that our Good Shepherd does not.


Martin Luther

"Where sin is very public, so that the judge and everybody know about it, you can without any sin shun the offender and let him go his way, because he has brought himself into disgrace. You may also publicly testify about him. For when a matter is public in the daylight, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying. It is like when we now rebuke the pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in the whole world. Where the sin is public, the rebuke also must be public, that everyone may learn to guard against it."

O Lord, rise up and rebuke the wolf that stalks at the gate of Your sheep pen. Give us shepherds who will rebuke the slavering wolf, even staking their reputation and life upon the need of the sheep, that they might be saved from the wolf's wicked attacks. Amen.
For Memorial Lutheran Church, that God the Lord would lead her into an eternity of service in the kingdom of Christ
For President Ken Hennings of the Texas District, LCMS, that he would faithfully confess the Christ unto the world
For Cantor Janet Muth and all church musicians, that the Holy Spirit would give them power to put the Word into song
Art: AERTSEN, Pieter  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1560)


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Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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