Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lutheran Brothers and Sisters in Africa

There are more Lutherans in Madagascar than in all of North America. Let me repeat that! There are more Lutherans in Madagascar than in all of North America! Wait a minute…where, what is Madagascar? It’s a large island off the coast of southwest Africa.

The number of Lutherans in Ethiopia, another African country, roughly double the amount of Lutherans in North America as well. But I thought Lutherans were just a bunch of germans. By no means! The Lutheran Reformation has gone out to the ends of the earth. We are a church body that teaches that we are all sinful and desperately in need of a Savior. We believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ. We believe that in the Lord’s Supper we receive the true body and blood of Christ Himself wherein we bask in the free forgiveness of sins through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

As we just celebrated Reformation Day let us remember that we are joined to our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We gather around the Risen Christ to receive forgiveness, life, and salvation. Pray for our missionary Pastor Jacob Gaugert as he continues to teach at the seminary in West Africa. Give thanks that Jo Ann Borchardt and Dar Borchardt crafted beautiful vestments for the students soon to be ordained into the ministry. Pray for our own church but also pray for the whole church of Christ at all times and in all places. Give thanks to God for the rapid spread of the Gospel in Africa. 

Luther said that the Gospel is a “farender platz regen,” or a “passing rain shower,” which goes from one place to the next.  Lutherans writes: “Let us remember our former misery, and the darkness in which we dwelt. Germany, I am sure, has never before heard so much of God’s word as it is hearing today; certainly we read nothing of it in history. If we let it just slip by without thanks and honor, I fear we shall suffer a still more dreadful darkness and plague. O my beloved Germans, buy while the market is at your door; gather in the harvest while there is sunshine and fair weather; make use of God’s grace and word while it is there! For you should know that God’s word and grace is like a passing shower of rain which does not return where it has once been. It has been with the Jews, but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have nothing. Paul brought it to the Greeks; but again when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the Muslims. Rome and the Latins also had it; but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the pope. And you Germans need not think that you will have it forever, for ingratitude and contempt will not make it stay. Therefore, seize it and hold it fast, whoever can; for lazy hands are bound to have a lean year.” (Luthers Works, vol. 45:352)

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