Grace is freely given through faith in Jesus ChristPublished 10:02am Friday, October 26, 2012
Column: Across the Pastor’s Desk
By the Rev. Cathi Braasch, interim pastor at Emmons Lutheran Church
It’s a simple question, one I’ve heard more times than I can count.
“So, how’s it going?”
How we answer that question depends on many things, and not just on the day and how it’s going for us. It also depends on who’s asking and whether we sense that the person who’s asking the question really cares.
Imagine Jesus asking:
“So, how’s it going with your soul?”
Well, for one thing, I know that Jesus really cares about what he’s asking and who he’s talking to. So, I can answer with confidence that He will understand what I mean.
“It’s going OK, Jesus.”
“OK, but just because you’re here.”
Leave it to Jesus not to stop asking when I give him an easy answer.
Faithfulness isn’t always a matter of simple questions and answers. For example: Reformation Day (All Saint’s Eve, Oct. 31) is approaching. I marvel at what it took for Martin Luther to ask, in his day, how things were going in the church of Christ. No casual questions for Luther, though, and not just one. Instead, he posted a list of 95 theses, statements to get the conversation going concerning the state of the church.
Imagine what it must have taken for Luther and the other reformers to get up, day after day, with no confidence of their own, only the confidence in Christ that is “the peace that transcends understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) Imagine praying, as Luther suggested in the opening lines of his morning and evening prayers.
“I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear son …”
“And what is it you’re giving thanks for today, Cathi?” Jesus asks.
Leave it to Jesus to cut to the heart of the matter.
“Today, Jesus, I’m grateful for a little phrase from Luther: ‘Glaubst du, so hast du.’”
“You want to translate that?
“What, Jesus, you don’t speak German?”
“Just let me ask the questions, OK? Now, translate.”
“‘Believe it, and you have it.’”
“And what does this mean, Cathi?”
And the holy conversation continues, morning after morning, day after day.
Believe it, and you have it.
“It” is grace. Pure, simple and, as promised by the Lord to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, sufficient.
If I had to get up every morning and depend on my own talent, charm, wit, insight and so forth in order to be good enough to merit God’s seal of approval, I’d be useless. If I had to depend on my own ability to believe God’s promise, I’d be only a dead woman walking. Thanks be to God, it’s not that way. There is grace, freely given through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection for your sin, my sin, and the sin of all people for all times.
So, how’s it going? How is it with your soul? Jesus does care. He’s listening. He’s always longing to hear from you and to give you grace sufficient for the day. Believe it, and you have it.
A blessed day to you. May it be well with your soul.