Dear Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church,
So whether we seem to be poor and dead to ourselves, or in sin, or lying prostrate before the pestilence [a fatal epidemic disease] or some other sickness, let us, in spite of all this, believe that in God’s eyes things look quite different. And let us say with a merry heart, “though poverty, pestilence, and death are before me, yet as a Christian I know no poverty, no death, no pestilence. For in the eyes of Christ my Lord there is nothing but riches, health, holiness, and life.” But if I do not see this yet, it is only for him to speak the word, and I shall see it, even with my very own eyes, that it is true, and the end of all things shall certainly be as He has said.
May God, for the sake of Christ, our redeemer, and his Son, through His Holy Spirit, grant us also such spiritual eyes, that we may look upon all adversity differently than the world, hold fast to this consolation, and at last be saved. Amen.
—Martin Luther, 1533
Christians have different eyes because we have hope in Christ’s death and resurrection. Too often Christianity has been confused with the Greco-Roman Platonic worldview. This Platonic view of the world says that what we see and feel around us in not real. Reality, it claims, is in some higher invisible realm of being.
This is not the true biblical Christian faith. As Christians we understand how real God’s creation is. The eternal Son of God really became real flesh. He really died a physical death. His tomb was empty. His real human body rose from the dead, transformed into eternal life. He gives us his real true body and blood to eat and drink unto the forgiveness of our sins.
Therefore, when Luther writes that we Christians have begun to see the world with God’s eyes, that though our eyes see poverty and death, our spiritual eyes in Christ see only abundance and life, Luther is not saying that pestilence are death are fake. We believe God’s creation is very real and we love His human creatures around us. Their fear, sadness, poverty, sickness, and death greatly troubles us just as Christ was greatly troubled and wept when he came to raise Lazarus from the dead. To pretend that the pain that fills the world is not real would be to blaspheme the world’s creator, and to abandon our fellow human creatures and the world.
However, we do have spiritual eyes. We have eyes that see the world differently, and that finally don’t trust the death that we see surrounding us. The Christian faith is not a metaphysical Platonic faith; it is a biblical Jewish historical faith. The Bible is filled with stories of God’s acts in history. At one point in history he chose Abraham, at another point he freed his people from Egypt, at another point he put Abraham’s seed, Jesus of Nazareth, on the cross and then raised him from the dead.
How are we able to look at death and see only life? Because we believe that death is not real? No. We look at death, real death, and see only life, because of Christ’s historical resurrection. We see life in the midst of death because we have heard the good news that Christ beat death once and for all (for all eternity, and for all who trust in Him). We see reality and history differently because we have already heard how this story, this history, ends. It ends in resurrection and eternal life for those in Christ Jesus.
One of the key lines in the end of Luther’s sermon quoted above is, “I do not see this [eternal life and abundance] yet.” The “yet” shows us the historical nature of our faith. We already “see,” actually we already hear, eternal life, but we wait to see it. This is faith’s struggle. Faith trusts God’s promises, but it sees death where life was promised. The good news is that Christ has promised us that the Holy Spirit, the comforter, will nourish our faith. In the end faith in Christ will win, and we will fully see and feel eternal life. As Luther preached, “the end of all things shall certainly be as He has said.”
Announcements and Updates from the office
This is a resource for announcements and updates from the office and council that occur between VOICE mailings. Most are included in the VOICE and emailed to the congregation as well.
Worship with us
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
100 E Schrock Road
Westerville, OH 43081
Office Hours: 9am to 3:00pm M-Th
9am to noon Fri
p. (614) 882-3026
Our mission is to reach out with the love of Jesus to grow disciples and serve our community.
We envision Grace to be a welcoming Christ-centered community of faith, inviting all, growing in discipleship, sharing in ministries.