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Psalm
119:161-168

 
Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments. My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.  (ESV)
Slay Though They May
Friday of Easter 2
8 April 2016
The persecutors of the church never succeed in snuffing out the life of the church. She has an indestructible life, because she has a life hidden in Christ, a Christ who died and now lives. The attempt to kill the church is a project once taken on at Calvary. But there death just gave way to life; a more abundant life. If the church dies with Christ in baptism, then she cannot die again. So what's the point in trying to kill her? It is like shooting a corpse; it's a waste of effort. This is why God laughs to scorn the kings of the earth because they take arms against the Lord and against his Anointed One. That didn't work out so well for them in the first century. It won't work out too well in the twenty-first century either; slaughter, hack, murder and slay, though they may.
 
Not only is the church dead because of her death with Christ in baptism, she also is alive in such a way that she is indestructible. Thus the life she lives she lives to God. She can die to the world, because she has a life hidden in the life of Christ. If you live in Christ, persecutors can take nothing from you. The world cannot kill a corpse and a corpse is all that is left of our relationship to the world. Our whole life is God's and that is something that cannot be taken away by the world. So let the world do its worst, Christ has long ago defeated the world's death. Death no longer has mastery over Him, nor over us. Christ is risen. Alleluia!

 

Martin Luther

"We are not concerned with our woes, but with the wretchedness of our persecutors; for we ourselves are well provided for. We are certain that they cannot detract from that; rather, the more they rage against us, the more they destroy themselves and prosper us, as St. Paul states in Philippians 1 (:18). 'Who can harm us since we have a Lord who holds the death and life of all our adversaries in his hand' (Rm 14:9), and who addresses our heart so comfortingly in John saying, 'Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world' (Jn 16:33). They threaten us with death. If they were as smart as they are stupid, they would threaten us with life. It is a shame and disgrace to try to threaten and terrify Christ and His Chr istians with death for, after all, they are lords and victors over death. It is just like trying to frighten a man by bridling and saddling his horse and bidding him to ride on it.
 
"However, they do not believe that Christ rose from the dead and is a Lord over life and death. For them He is still in the grave, yes, in hell. But we are happy and confident because we know that Christ rose and that death is no more than the end of sin and the end of itself. For the life in this flesh still cleaves to us and is still lived in sin. This life cannot be without sin by reason of the flesh. And that prompts the emerging spirit in us to cry: Come, death and Judgment Day, and put an end both to sin and death. Amen. That is the meaning of St. Paul's words in Romans 7 and 8.
 
"Our wretched foes do not know such happiness and joy in Christ. And they are angry with us because we want to communicate this joy to them and offer it to them. They would give us death in exchange for life. O God, the almighty resurrection of Christ is surely too strong a bulwark for them to intimidate and frighten Him with the momentary power of their straw and paper tyranny!"

Martin Luther, A Letter of Consolation to All who Suffer Persecution
 
Prayer
O gloriously resurrected Lord Christ, You have called on us to pray for our enemies and bless those who persecute us. Please rescue from their wretched hatred those who persecute the holy church made alive by Your death and resurrection, that they may be converted to the same hope that we ourselves confess, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For the DeYoungs, who will be thanking God for the eternal life of a dear mother, Dodie, and a dear brother, Robert, in funeral services at Memorial Lutheran Church Sunday afternoon, that they would praise the Lord who brings life out of death
 
For the South Wisconsin District Pastoral Conference, to which I will be traveling on Sunday, that I would be blessed by my time of service with those who shepherd the flocks
 
For Leslie Roch, who is undergoing cancer diagnostics, that God the Lord would give her health and strength
 
For Janet Doiron, in thanks to God for bringing her greater strength
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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