The events of the last week have sparked yet another round of outraged denunciations, feverish finger-pointing, and circular arguments across our nation. It is the latest case in what has oftentimes seemed like a never-ending wave of blows that we have had to endure over the past year, and many of us are left wondering what we are supposed to do about it all. Quite frankly, I’m too tired to pay these things much attention at this point, let alone engage in what are sure to be frustrating conversations and annoying social media posts, pointlessly debating causes and effects, right and wrong, good and evil, the only concrete result of which will be a head-shaped dent in my table from repeated bangings. A better discussion is, where do we go from here? I think the answer to that is simpler than we imagine.
Last Wednesday, as I started to see stories pop up on my phone about the Capitol, I went for a hike with my mom, and then had a lovely family dinner during which I completely ignored my phone (except to force everyone to take Dennis Matyas’ LCMS Sorting Hat Quiz!). Several states away, Tyler the Intern turned off the TV and planned a Bible study with some friends. While the media acted as though Rome was burning to the ground, there were those of us who had quite enjoyable days. It was not because we were oblivious to what was going on, but we chose to focus on the lives right in front of us, and more importantly, to embrace the peace that comes with the assurance of our salvation. Yet, so many people seem to be forgetting these basics. “That comes from the external voices that dominate their lives. It comes from their social media accounts, and those voices now dominate their concerns and their cares and their passions, and not necessarily the people that they’re actually around. We had people storming the Capitol on Wednesday. On Sunday, I’ll go to church, and the people of God will be together, and they’ll receive the Lord’s Supper, and we’ll have a Bible study on Isaiah and have good conversations, and we’ll talk a little bit about this, but we’ll talk mostly about what Christ has done for us, and how those things are much larger than what’s going on in the world” said Rev. Paul Koch on this week’s episode of Ringside.
We cannot save the world. Only one person has and will ever be able to pull that off. So, what do we do now? Go to church, and serve our neighbors. That is what we have been called to do. The depravity of the world should neither surprise nor distress us. When we receive the gifts of God, those gifts of Word and Sacrament that are rooted outside of ourselves, let us remember that these promises of assurance should bring us peace and confidence. Through flood, fire, or famine, Biden or Buffalo Man, God’s church will continue to thrive, as it always has. That is what He promised us, and our mission remains the same. Rev. Joel Hess reminds us, “The church has been through revolutions and the passings of [political] systems. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go…this is just another chapter in the history of the world.”
It is time to get back to basics, my friends. Refocus on what really matters, and what is truly deserving of your focus and energy. Go to church and serve your neighbor. Who knows, maybe we will end up making things a little brighter in this world after all. Then again, perhaps not. The beautiful thing about God’s church is, it doesn’t matter either way.
This article is a brief examination of the “metaphorical and theological rugby match” that was this week’s episode of Ringside Preachers. Listen to Rev. Joel Hess, Rev. Paul Koch, guest Cindy Koch, and Tyler the Intern, as they duke it out over the best place to bunker down when anarchy reigns, the similarities between politics and collegiate sports, when it is okay to overthrow the government, and more on the full Ringside Preachers episode, “Interpreting the Times.”
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