How do YOU respond??  Are we united in our walk together?  We've seen so much divisiveness in the news in the past year.  In the past few days we've heard "Here We Stand" as well as "We kneel in solidarity!"  
     When we disagree with someone's view, how do we respond?  Some will confront so to challenge or understand the other's viewpoint.   Some will say it's their right to feel that way and let it flow off our backs.  Some will protest in one way or another, trying to win in the court of public opinion.
     Christians should repond and express their faith — through acts of mercy in times of tragedy, such as following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  When the enemy attacks we need to bind together to encourage the right and defeat the wrong.  But lately we might wonder "Just who is the enemy?"  Is Mother Nature an enemy?  Are these God's judgments on a wicked world?  How do we respond to disaster, like the earthquakes in Mexico?  At what point do we send up a prayer asking, "WHY?  
     Many are protesting in our land.  Who or what are they protesting?  "I don't agree with the results of the election, or the court's ruling,  so I have a right to march, loot or dishonor!"  Really?   
     It's been a long time since a group of underdog college kids beat the Soviets on ice at Lake Placid. Do you remember when President Bush walked to the mound at Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch after 9/11, and America cheered?  I pouted, (not protested) when J.D. and J.V. and Alex Avila surrendered their Tiger's uniforms to play elsewhere.   Sure, these were just games -- but to a nation in crisis, they were so much more. These were the sports that united a country.
     This past weekend sports was no longer the healer -- but the divider. A storm that had been brewing since the moment quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit out the National Anthem finally boiled over, and for the first time in a long time, the biggest storyline on NFL Sunday had nothing to do with the scores.
     The media seems to have praised the league with their solidarity in taking a knee, but how about the double standards on social media with pictures of Coach Joe Kennedy or Tim Tebow, who were mocked or outright punished when they took a knee... in prayer?  Many of us are eager to call on America do exactly that, to get on our knees before God that He would show mercy that we make a real difference in this splintered country.  We do need to pray for unity.   If we don't we will destroy ourselves, for we will reenact the civil war that took the lives of so many Americans,  from within!
     Luther sought to unite the Church with the truth of God's Word, that we are rescued from Hell by grace through faith in Jesus,  not purchased via indulgences or by doing good works!  He nailed those 95 theses, (points to debate), so that the Church would celebrate the Blood of the Lamb shed into death offering LIFE to those who trust in Jesus!  So, WHO is the enemy?  Not the Church, but Satan, who's still seeks to divide nation, family, and church.
     Let us kneel in solidarity to pray to the One who heals our land as we turn from our wicked ways to live in peace with one another!                        GLYSDI,   PB
     The faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis was heavily involved in the filming of “MARTIN LUTHER: The Idea that Changed the World.”   PBS is showing the film on September 12 at 8 PM.  
     One reviewer (Jeff Kloha) writes, "Martin Luther remains one of the most important and influential people in the western world. The year 2017 will see both scholarship and popular media reflect and comment on Martin Luther and his legacy—sometimes negatively. His reform of the church, his translation of the Bible, and his reshaping of Christian life changed the religious, social, and political face of Europe. These reverberations are still felt today—even here in far-away America, where Christianity and even the nation itself would look very different were it not for Martin Luther."
     He continues, "But who was Martin Luther? What was his world like? And, most importantly, what is the significance of his message today? Trying to imagine this 500 years later is not easy; trying to visualize and verbalize it through film is both an opportunity and a challenge. In this film, in addition to accurately representing historical details like clothing, architecture, sounds, and attitudes, the most important work is to communicate Luther’s ideas to a modern audience. Technical vocabulary of “justification,” “gospel,” or even “sin” can be misleading or confusing not only to life-long Lutherans but especially to those who are not connected to a congregation. How do we connect the world-changing message of the Gospel—and Luther’s insight into that Gospel—with secular viewers whose only brush with theology is their belief that “I am a good person”?
     Being a “good person” is not what Christianity is all about—it is all about Jesus Christ! It is about his love that lays down his own life for God’s enemies—that is, even you and me. It is about receiving “the good life” even in the midst of despair and uncertainty and suffering and death. It is a message that God is not like us:  he does not look for us to be beautiful and then love us. No! God in Christ does the opposite. He makes us pleasing to himself, in Christ, and loves us as his new creation. Purely out of fatherly, divine, goodness and mercy. Now that is worth remembering—and sharing—even 500 years later!
     We're now about 6 weeks away from our celebration of the Reformation 500 years later, at the Breslin Center.  I wonder how the Catholic Church is feeling about the whole event.  Will there be protests?  Luther sought to unite the Church in the truth of Scripture stating "we are saved by grace through FAITH , it is a gift, and not of works ..."(Eph. 2: 8)   Even the Christian Church is divided into denominations with differing views of what the Bible says, and some even question the authority of the Bible!  How do we get to heaven?  Some claim "There is no Hell, so all are saved!"  That isn't what the Bible says!
     Join us again Tuesday evenings as we pursue God's truth and the strength and wisdom to share His love with everyone!  Review the explanation Luther offers to the 3rd Commandment.  You remember it, right?  How do we reSpect God's Word?    Don't rebel and protest God's presence, but proclaim your freedom IN CHRIST to those He sets before you!
     GLYSDI,   PB