The Proper Perspective
It is no small thing to claim that “the Church engages the world.” The world is a formidable foe — it teams up with the devil and our sinful nature, all three of which “do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come” (Luther’s Small Catechism, Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer).
American poet Walt Whitman may have once penned the exquisitely ambitious line “The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine” (“Song of the Open Road”), but the baptized faithful take a much longer, deeper view. We remember that the kingdom of God — our kingdom, given and received by His grace — is not of this world (John 18:36). We humbly keep this truth in its proper perspective: The world is firmly placed within and under God’s ordered plan of salvation. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1).
The Church simply does what the Lord has given her to do: She perseveres in engaging the world. Everywhere! And how is this heroic quest fulfilled? By Jesus, crucified and risen, in a people made holy through faith in Him. And by you, a people journeying together through the world and yet set apart by the Word of God, by Baptism, by the Lord’s Supper, by the exercise of the Office of the Keys (the absolution of the repentant and the binding of sins upon the unrepentant). We are a people served by called and ordained ministers; a people in prayer, praise and thanksgiving to God — reflecting immense gratitude for having received Christ’s holiness; a people together, suffering in the bearing of His cross (Luther’s On the Councils and the Church).
May we continue to walk together with you on this joyful, epic journey? It seems that more than a few of the world’s citizens are taking notice of where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Rev. Kevin D. Robson
Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod