As I sit here writing this, a new person is being sworn in as President of the United States.
Thus is capped off one of the most divisive elections in American history. A divisive election after a divisive campaign - which in turn took place during a divisive and brutal year. It is a sad but instantly recognizable fact that division more aptly describes our country than almost any other word right now.
Now whether you're happy for the new incumbent to begin his term of office or you're furious about it isn't the point. The point is that division has always been part of this sinful world. It is implicit in everything it does, it is inherent in that deep rooted selfishness that every human being shares.
God himself makes this point clearly in Jeremiah 6: "They say 'peace, peace,' when there is no peace." How could there be? In a world fallen into sin any unity people find with each other is doomed to be temporary.
But that is why our Savior has promised to give his peace - a peace which the world cannot give. That is why he reminds us that he is constantly at our side to protect us and watch over us. That is why he has brought us true, lasting unity as his people; a unity that he bought with his own blood. We, indeed, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now in our national landscape we see division - and may God grant that it is healed. But because we see division so often at a national level we're tempted to see it everywhere else too.
But let's not do that.
In fact, let's especially not do that here at Good Shepherd's.
Brothers and sisters, as we discuss the possible merger over the next month and a half, as we engage in the information, as we have frank and honest conversations with each other - there are going to be differences of opinion. There are going to be some strongly held opinions and some deep feelings. That is ok. In fact, it's more than Ok, it's good.
But we must not let these things turn into divisions here at Good Shepherd's. For we do not follow the pattern of behavior shown to us by the world - no, we follow our Savior and we make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of Christian peace.
We, indeed, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. May he bless us always!
Pastor Joshua Zarling
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