God's Compassion
Thursday of Easter 5
23 May 2019
When President Barack Obama made a pick for a new Supreme Court justice based on compassion and the presumption that one ethnic group or sex should be privileged over others, every American should have been deeply concerned. Judge Sonia Sotomayor has expressed her belief that "a wise Latina woman (sic) with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." This opinion would make the law of our land subject to an unverifiable belief. Where in our positive law or national tradition have we accepted an almost religious belief in the superiority of the judgment of one sex or ethnicity over others? Isn't this exactly what a free people rejects when we say, that "all men were created equal" in the founding document of our national freedom? When Judge Sotomayor is allowed to decide cases on the basis of her private opinion, this is close to enshrining in national politics the very principle which Christians who want to Christianize the government are accused of by their opponents: "You are mixing religion into politics!" In my opinion, Judge Sotomayor is very much bent upon forcing her personal (and we might even say 'religious' opinion) on a free people in the Supreme Court.
We Christians should not desire the compassionate judging which is so much desired by people on both sides of the political spectrum. For whose compassion is to be used? I am afraid of the governmentally dictated empathy being retailed in favor of true mercy and compassion. The government's compassion and mercy are always offered at the cost of others in the society: tax that is redistributive, transference of suffering from disfavored groups to a favored group (wise Latina), or benefits that are given to businesses defined as "too big to fail." In any case, the people get to suffer the consequences in taxation, or regulation, and the other miseries caused by governmental largess. Compassion then becomes the catalyst for a velvet slavery.
We just need to accept the fact that government cannot fix some things. Take the weather, for instance. And yet global climate change hysteria makes that very claim and is giving the government a climatological reason to impose a daily more burdensome tyranny upon us, a free people. Nobel laureate for physics, Ivar Giaever, calls the climate change hysteria "the new religion." God used to be considered the arbiter of weather; now government is. For my money, God is much better at managing the weather than government. In a truly Nietzschian historical moment, we are seeing the government take over the role of God in our culture; fixing everything, handing out gifts, righting wrongs, and showing mercy and compassion. May the true God save us from the crushing compassion of government! We Christians believe that the government isn't instituted to do the church's work. The government needs to rule by law, which it does through God's gift of reason. God establishes the church where He rules by forgiveness and mercy. Compassion remains God's.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Ambrose of Milan
"Let us consider the exact words of the Apostle: 'Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.' (1Co 5:7). Either that the whole Church takes up the burden of the sinner, with whom she has to suffer in weeping and prayer and pain, and, as it were, covers herself with his leaven, in order that by means of all that which is to be done away in the individual doing penance may be purged by a kind of contribution and commixture of compassion and mercy offered with manly vigor. Or one may understand it as that woman in the Gospel teaches us, who is a type of the Church, when she hid the leaven in her meal, till all was leavened, and the whole could be used as pure (Mt 13:33).
"Since the kingdom of heaven is redemption from sin, and therefore we all, both bad and good, are mingled with the meal of the Church that we all may be a new lump. But that no one should be afraid that a mixture of evil leaven might injure the lump, the Apostle said: 'that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened' (1Co 5:7). That is to say, this mixture will render you again such, as in the pure integrity of your innocence. If we thus have compassion, we are not stained with the sins of others, but we gain the restoration of another to the growth of our own grace, so that our integrity remains as it was. And therefore he adds: 'For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed' (1Co 5:7); that is, the suffering of the Lord earned everything, and gave redemption to sinners who repented of the sins they had committed."

 Ambrose of Milan, Two Books Concerning Repentance, 1.81, 83
2 Samuel 5:1-10

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, 'You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'" So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, "You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off" - thinking, "David cannot come in here." Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, "Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack 'the lame and the blind,' who are hated by David's soul." Therefore it is said, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house." And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him. (ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, continue to send Your Word to Your church that she might distribute the leavening gift of your mercy and forgiveness to a world that neither knows what compassion is nor its enormous cost. Help us to defend our liberty that we might not become slaves under the crushing weight of government. Lead us to pray for the president and all who are in authority, that they might care for those things You have placed in their hands and not usurp authority that is not theirs; whether it be the people's or Yours. Amen.
For Charlie Hinrichsen, who is traveling for work, that the Lord Jesus would watch over him in his travels and give him a safe return
For Chaplain Donald Ehrke (Lt. Col. U.S. Army), that the Lord would be with him as he serves the U.S. Army in Japan, and that God's people in uniform would be upheld in the holy faith
For all those who live under tyrannous governments, that they would be freed from oppression
For all educators, that they would take this time of repose and quiet as an opportunity to read and study so that all learners would be benefited by their growth in knowledge
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias,  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2019
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
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