October 15

October 15
By Gabe Tseng
“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity”
 
This is an oft misquoted saying attributed to St. Augustine when it actually has come from a otherwise un notable German Lutheran theologian, Rupertus Meldenius. I’m sure we all feel a sense of pride in our tradition. As we are turning toward our voting season in a very politically charged culture with wide ranging opinions and consciences that also range in the very vocal and the less, let us take moment of what it may mean to be charitable in our listening and loving of our neighbor and brother.
 
In other times, Jesus was a very controversial figure. He still is. Crusades were waged in God’s name with the poorest and best of intentions, yet looking back on history past, there were never any “good old days.” Every generation and every moment has its positives and negatives, some seasons we enjoyed more than others, and yet other moments that we can only move past, without ever forgetting. In Jesus’ ministry, he faced difficult questions and yet walked in complete humility, righteously turning over merchants who had made his temple a “den of thieves” and slept on the streets, healing those who were outcast and shunned by society. “The Son of Man had no place to rest his head” for in his earthly time, he also knew he was not home, nor did he consider earth his home even while he pleaded to his hard hearted brethren, Israel.
 
When asked in Matthew 22:21- “should we pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus replied, “Give to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is Gods.” And implied in this is Romans 13:1 where we are to “obey all authorities” as God has ordained them to be an instrument for His good work. Hard to say that Rome was good, considering they popularized and brutalized the cross, an instrument of death aplenty. Yet, Jesus says to give to Caesar, and as we obey, we are to pay taxes, not just for our own good, but as a good witness, and to follow the authority that God has placed upon us.
 
Yet, God owns everything, even Caesar, and in this we find our rest. We do not put our hope in earthly powers or authority. Our fight is not against “flesh and blood, but against the principalities of this world.” We fight evil, not this world primarily, but our fight is for a good witness to the unbelieving world around us, so that we might win some.
 
Abraham Kuyper said, “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!”
 
And in this, we find our rest. We find peace and rest knowing that God has made his home with us, yet we are not home. We are yet still journeying as sojourners in this world, not putting our faith or our hope in an imperfect political system, with imperfect leaders, or even an imperfect church with imperfect sinners, although repentant sinners, yet still quite imperfect. We place our hope in the Lord until He calls us home.
 
Perhaps a pertinent word for us this season is this: God may be more concerned with how we love those who vote differently than us, than how we vote. Until He calls us home, we still have work here to do. Let us walk humbly with Him, especially loving those who are different than us, and remember that even in God’s seemingly greatest failure, He still used it for our greatest good.

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