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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Shocked and Appalled


I can’t seem to get it out of my head. This weekend I heard once again of the most scandalous and unjust things I’ve heard in my lifetime. I was shocked and appalled at the same time. At times, I was even angry—sometimes sad. The only thing going through my head was, “How doesn’t everyone see through the charade? How can one have all the hard evidence in their favor while the other can’t even keep a story straight? How is the report not going out about how wrong and evil this is? Why is he all alone? Why is no one coming to his defense?”

And then there was one. There was one lone individual who was going to stand up for what was right. He promised to stand on his confession and to proclaim the truth. He said it in front of everyone. “The evidence is clear. You’re right.” But how flaky he turned out to be! All it took was a crowd to gather in private. He was put on the spot, and once he was forced to make that confession…to ultimately lay his life on the line (so to speak), he flaked. Now, I wasn’t in that room, but everyone knows what it was like. It was one charge after another. It was chaos and commotion. Once the ones emerged who were clearly abusing their power, the deal had already been done. An innocent man was destined to endure hell itself. Life is literally on the line.

Shocked and appalled.

Of course, I heard all about this most scandalous and unjust thing while our associate pastor preached Christ and Him crucified this Sunday. We heard of Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted. All of this called to mind the secret dealings in the private court and the flaking of Peter when a confession was demanded of him. We had heard Peter say that he would go to prison and death with Jesus, but the authorities struck too much fear in him. Even though every piece of evidence was in line and in favor with Jesus, and even though not one piece of evidence presented against Him held up, He was given literal hell anyway. He was given a cross and the sins of the world. He’s the only truly innocent One to ever suffer death, and He did it for you.

Shocked and appalled.

What did you expect I was going to say? Did you think I was going to delve into the political arena that has our nation so utterly divided today? Forget it. Ever since the Fall in the Garden, chaos has seemed to reign through sin. Unfortunately, the more divided we become, the more people look to politicians for salvation. Nietzsche was right, I guess! But you know better. Psalm 146 says it perfectly, and our hymnody proclaims it beautifully, “Trust not in rulers; they are but mortal; Earth born they are and soon decay. Vain are their counsels at life’s last portal, When the dark grave engulfs its prey. Since mortals can no help afford, Place all your trust in Christ, our Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia!” (LSB 797.2).

The world will do what the world will do, but when it hates you, know that it hated Christ first. None of this is to say to exile yourself from the political arena. Life is literally on the line. Nevertheless, don’t expect the world to warm up and be friendly to those whom Christ has called. For you who are Christian, get into a congregation that clings to pure doctrine and rightly administers the Sacraments. It is only in those places that there is no concession to the world and its threats. The time is coming and is now here when the attacks on Christians who fight for life will no longer take place subtly in the darkness of night. Get ready. “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

John Bussman1 Comment