Easter Devotion – April 22 & 23, 2017

By now you’ve read through a week of our yearly by Zion for Zion Easter
devotional. And since you’ve reached the first of six weekends in the Easter
Season, I (Rev. Rouland) wanted to give you a little sense of what we’re
doing with the weekend devotions: Pastor Reitz and I decided to write on
portions of the Six Chief Parts. If you are in Confirmation, or can remember
back (way back for some of you!) to your Confirmation, the six chief parts
are the MAJOR sections of Luther’s Small Catechism, which has been used
to teach the Faith for almost 500 years. We hope you enjoy these, and
hope you find that returning to the book that was written for the
instruction of children is something that we needn’t ever quite outgrow.
So, here we go:
I sometimes offer this situation to my confirmands to get them thinking
down the right line: you’re crossing the street next to an older lady, she
trips and falls, and her purse spills out all over the ground. There was a
bunch of cash in there. But you remember in that moment that you
shouldn’t steal so you keep walking. When you walk away, do you feel
good about yourself because you did the right thing?
How about this one:
“The Eighth Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your
neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we
do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his
reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the
kindest way.”
There’s something I want you to notice about Luther’s explanation to this
commandment (and is true of the rest too). Notice how he moves from
“don’t do these bad things” to “but do these good things”? This might
seem like a small point, but it makes an enormous difference. When you
think of commandments like these from God, do you think primarily about
the negative behavior that we’re supposed to avoid? Or do you think too
about the positive behavior that we’re supposed to embrace? Super often
we summarize this commandment as “don’t lie.” And I’m mostly in favor of
not lying, but I also know people who are as honest as the day is long, but
are cruel with their words, and though they could say they were living the
letter of this commandment they wouldn’t be living the spirit of it. Don’t
just avoid negative things, embrace positive things. Build someone up with
your words. Protect someone.
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And don’t just walk away from the temptation of the spilled purse, help that
lady up. Make sure she’s ok. If she’s single and you’re single you can even
ask her out on a date for all I care, but just don’t leave her on the ground.
St. Paul says it like this, “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall
love your neighbor as yourself,’” (Galatians 5:14).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, you have made me your child and taught me what
it means to be a part of your family. Help me to live like that to the glory of
the Name of your dear Son Jesus. Amen.
THE AUTHOR: Rev. Mark Rouland