Pastor Lawrence White once called the Missouri Synod convention a “Tri-Annual Armageddon.” All the synodical hopes and fears of all the years will meet, this summer, in Milwaukee, and as with every convention, the devil try to lead us into temptation.
A particular temptation of convention-tide is the temptation of the emergency. It is the temptation behind the word “urgency”. It is the temptation to fear the future, to despair and lose hope, to panic. The devil takes whatever we see as the biggest trouble in the world and turns it into an emergency.
“The church is small, and getting smaller. Emergency!”
“There are false teachers in the church. Emergency!”
“The world hates the church. Emergency!”
Here’s the truth: the church has always been small. There have always been false teachers. The world has always hated the church. And Jesus, who sits on the throne at the Father’s right hand knows all about it, and He continues to keep His promise that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.
Because of the Ascension of Christ the church is emergency-proof. Because Jesus is at the Father’s right hand the church is panic-proof. Because we, by faith, cling to the promises of Jesus, we recognize the devil’s temptation to coerce us and put us into the bondage of emergency thinking.
And in the confidence of the ascension of Christ we go about our vocations, fighting sin and doing good in the place where the Lord has placed us. For many of us, one of our upcoming acts of love will be to vote for a Synodical President.
It seems to me that in the last six years President Harrison has demonstrated the confidence and wisdom that comes from confessing the Ascension. He is, for the most part, emergency-proof. And, he has resisted the temptation of emergencies, and he has resisted the temptation to but the church into a state of emergency and panic. I’m glad he has been our president, and I would ask the electors to consider keeping him in this humble office.