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Here is something Strom Thurmond would say. Go into his office and ask the 93-year-old Senator from South Carolina where he expects to be at this time next year. He will probably say “Ratcheer!”

This is an old saying. Gregory Peck used it in the 1946 film “The Yearling.” Clint Eastwood sneered at its use in “The Honkytonk Man” of 1982. Jeff Foxworthy and Steve Mitchell use it in their explanations of things southern.

The Locatedness Of God

“Ratcheer” means “right here” — on this spot. It is heard in several southern states. It holds a good concept for us Christians to remember. Jesus went away at His ascension. But He left seemingly paradoxical promises behind: “Lo, I am with you alway,” and “Wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am. . . . ”

This must mean that Jesus is “ratcheer,” even though He has gone! God’s right hand must indeed be very close by. His Kingdom is still with us. This Bible-provided notion pretty well sets Lutherans apart from other Christians. The God of Scripture, who took up residence here on earth to pay for our sins right here, is still located here, and can be found here.

Keep Looking Down

“Keep looking up,” folks say when times get bad. We accept that as a pretty good motto. Trouble is, it has a narrow and limited use. As the apostles stood there on Ascension Day, still gazing up into heaven, two angels admonished them and made some reference to Judgment Day. Jesus Himself did the same in Luke 21 in reference to the climax of our redemption. We will then all look up and lift up our heads. But in the meantime our practical motto is: “Keep looking down!”

Why? Your God is “ratcheer.” Look down, into the Scriptures! Because until Judgment Day nothing more regarding our salvation shall be coming down. It has already come, all of it. Jesus came down, to stand beside us in our sin. He went beneath us, to take us and our sin on Himself. He died, went down into the grave, for us. Ratcheer.

After His ascension, the Comforter came down, right beside us. He created and preserved for us the Word which He slides beneath us, bearing us up, forgiving us, strengthening us. He provides and promotes the Sacraments which uses the “right here” elements of water, bread, wine, along with the “right here” Word. He provides us with righteousness and energy, giving us energy to live holy lives “right here.”

Down Where We Live

This is where God and His Means of Grace have come. Ratcheer! This is where God’s gracious work has been done — and still gets done — where He works faith and hope and energy in the hearts of many who look down into the Means of Grace. Ratcheer! This is where God’s “possible” mission is accomplished. You do not have to go very far from your home to find someone in need of Christian witness and instruction. Desperate people live all around us right down here.

The apostle John says:”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” right here. “To as many as received Him, who believe on His name,” right here, “He gave power to become the children of God.” Strom Thurmond’s hopes depend on his being re-elected. Your Savior took care of our election once and for all.

So we serve Him right here!

–Pastor Warren Fanning