Look how much can arrive in a thin envelope, especially when we read it slowly.
Following is a monthly pastoral letter of Rev. Rolf Preus to his congregations, Trinity Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana and St. John Lutheran Church in Fairview, Montana.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Another year becomes history. We stop to consider the passing of time. When you are young time passes very slowly. It speeds up as you get older. Finally, we are on the edge of eternity. Time disappears along with all created things.
To live as if the time we enjoy or suffer here on earth is all there is to life is to live a vain and foolish life. It is a part of the natural knowledge of God for people to know that there is life after death. Even those who live in the blindness of sin and worship idols have an idea of an afterlife. They don’t know how to get where they want to go. Still, they know that there is life after death. The question is how. How can someone bound to time escape its ravages and find eternal life?
The eternal Word became flesh. He joined our time so that we might be joined to the Eternal. He did more. At a specific time and at a specific place he confronted the decay and destruction that time wreaks upon a fallen world and he brought new innocence to life. He became the Savior of sinners by bearing in his own body the sin of the world. He took it away. Now we look forward to new heavens and a new earth where sin, sickness, death, and decay cannot enter.
This is our future. This is why and how we can enjoy the life we live here and now. Martin Luther was once asked what he would do if he knew for a fact that Christ would return tomorrow and bring an end to this world. He said that he would plant a tree. There’s an attitude for us to embrace!
Young folks grow up, get married, have children and face the world. “Oh,” the pessimists lament, “I don’t think I’d want to raise a family in the world as it is today!” Well, I would! Yes, the world’s bad, but since Adam disobeyed God’s command has there ever been a time when this world has not been corrupt? Yes, there are dangerous temptations out there facing our children. But when has it been any different? We have the gospel! It is the most powerful thing in the world. It joins us to our God by faith and it guarantees us that time will not destroy us but will rather serve us in obedience to the Creator of all that exists.
It is when we know that we’re not bound to time that we can live within our allotted time in this world with confidence. We Christians are optimists. How so? We know how the story ends for us. It is a good ending. The end of time will usher in a wonderful eternity. We don’t mourn the passing of time. We don’t even mourn the corruption we see in this world. We live the lives God has given us to live in hope. The future belongs to us.
Sincerely in Christ,