FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT
Sometimes life seems routine and lackluster, like watching black and white reruns of an old TV series. Would you like renewed appreciation and enthusiasm for this time of grace? Then realize what a gift it is. A COVID patient walking out of the hospital after months in an ICU bed will likely have a keen appreciation for each pain-free breath. A scan which fails to detect any remaining cancer cells fills every morning with sunshine, no matter what the weather.
A new lease on life is the greatest incentive to make the most of the time that lies ahead. Recovery from a serious illness may move an individual to tirelessly devote countless hours to helping others enduring similar trials. A survivor of a serious car accident might become a fervent advocate for safer vehicles.
How much more do we have reason to appreciate life! We didn’t merely have a close brush with death, we were dead in trespasses and sins. There was nothing that we or even a team of world-renowned surgeons could do. But Jesus had compassion on us in our hopeless condition. He came to our rescue. He obeyed the Law in our place. He resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem and was nailed to the cross along with the world’s guilt. He suffered the eternal death of hell during three black hours. To save us, He died and was buried. Then came Easter! He promises, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19 NIV84) We were buried with Jesus through Baptism into death and raised to new, vibrant life in Him. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV84) If not for Jesus, there would be no life, only eternal death. It was that close!
Now the question is what you are going to do with your new life. It is anything but a dreary black-and-white journey. Each day is filled with the bright rays of forgiveness, the warmth of peace with God, and all the other multi-colored blessings from God’s gracious hand. What better way to use our time than by serving Him who made Himself the Servant of all! St. Paul urged the Corinthian Christians, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV84)
Alive in Christ. It’s a life that is full of meaning and purpose. Knowing that our Savior conquered the grave and now directs not just our lives but all of history for the wellbeing of His kingdom gives us the enthusiasm and confidence to reflect His light everywhere life takes us. In your relationships at home, let the living Christ’s love compel you to be kind, considerate, and forgiving. Make the most of time spent in class or the workplace by watching for ways to show that life is not about self-centered pursuits, but about following Jesus. Congregational and synodical life is anything but routine when we keep our commission in mind to go and make disciples of all nations, from the neighbors next door to villagers in Nepal. Since we have been raised with Jesus to new life, blessed with eternally important work to do, and can look forward to a crown of glory, what’s not to appreciate?
church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and president of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.