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Posts by Matthew Harrison
Another brutal and senseless killing spree by a crazed gunman, motivated by racial hatred, sends our thoughts swirling between despair and numbness. Why were these nine Christians martyred as they were taking in the life-giving Word of God in Christian Bible study? We know and are too often reminded that there is horrid evil in this world, and an “evil one” who bedevils the minds of such killers. Jesus said it would be so (John 17:15).
As the world devolves around us from insanity to insanity, I’m reminded of the statement of John Adams that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Nowhere is that more true than in the case of the Second Amendment. As both religion and morality are on steep decline among us, we can only expect more of this insanity by individuals unhinged from the safety of families and a society normed by natural law and influenced by the genuine teaching of the Bible. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
No truth of the New Testament is so loudly stated by Jesus than that the Triune God is the creator of all people (Matt. 19:4); that God loves all (John 3:16); that all are equally indebted to God and valuable to Him (2 Cor. 5:14–15; John 8:12). Racism is a fundamental denial of the Word of God (cf. Acts 2:5ff.; Matt. 15:21ff.) and natural law. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Declaration of Independence). The denial of human rights, maltreatment of persons due to race, including the forbidding of the right for a man and a woman to marry without regard to race, is contrary to natural and divinely revealed law (Holy Scripture). It also contradicts the universality of the truth of the Gospel of Christ, who died for all (Romans 3:9–10, 19; 2 Cor. 5:19).
We mourn the loss of these dear Christians and pray for their loved ones. May they be consoled by “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting,” and the picture of heaven painted by St. John in Revelation of “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).
We reject racism and racially motivated hatred in all its forms. We repent where we have fallen short, and we pray for strength to stand for what is good and right and true. We pray for the perpetrator and his family, even as we demand the swift execution of justice.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is Ash Wednesday, when the Church begins her slow and measured journey to the cross, where we see Jesus: the Savior who hangs — bloodied and scourged — for us. It is a time of reflection and repentance for me and also for you, for all of us as the LCMS, and for the Church throughout the world.
And yet in the midst of our dusty Lenten ashes, we also look forward to Easter, when our Lord is raised from the dead, triumphing over sin and Satan, all for us. Yes, even during our Lenten fast, joy abounds!
That’s why I want to share two important things with you, so that you may see and know that our Lord is at work in and among each one of us, and is using us collectively as the LCMS to bear witness to Him.
First, our Synod treasurer, Jerry Wulf, shared at our Board of Directors meeting last weekend that together as the Synod we have reduced internal borrowing of restricted funds to cash flow operations from some $16 million four years ago to zero. You read that correctly. Zero! And we’re not stopping there. To get our financial house in order, we have also achieved a three-month cash reserve for operations, which is the minimum for a responsible non-profit.
Second, I’m delighted to announce that we are closing in on doubling the number of career missionaries internationally, which is a goal set by the Synod in convention in 2013. We are working to find a measured pace that will ensure that a sound system of missionary care remains in place but, by God’s grace, will also enable us to continue to add men and women, lay and clergy, to our worldwide mission team. The international moment unfolding worldwide before us as the LCMS is truly astounding!
So, thank you. Thank you for taking part in getting our finances in order so that we may be hearty stewards of all our Lord has to give. And thank you for being a part of our church’s mission work, that our fellow members may go to the ends of the earth to bear witness to Christ to those who have not yet heard that they are loved and whole on account of His death and resurrection.
Thank you. Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s Word and to the Lutheran Confessions. Lay people, thank you for loving your pastors. Pastors, thank you for loving your people.
Thank you for living boldly as the baptized children, loved by God, that you are. And thank you for the privilege of serving you. I covet your prayers and promise you mine, this Lenten season and always.
Under the cross,
Pastor Matt Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Why the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI)?
Luther: Jesus took on our flesh; we “take on” our neighbor’s flesh by helping the needy.
- “By this we know love, that Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
- “Whatsoever you have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done also to me” (Matt. 25:40).
- There are more than 18 million Lutherans in Africa. More than 800,000 people around the world die of malaria each year, and most of them are children.
- The U.N. Foundation (not the U.N.!), sought out Lutheran World Relief (Baltimore) as one of some 200 possible organizations, and the LCMS because of:
1) excellence in delivery of services;
2) significant American constituency;
3) our Lutheran partners—doctors, nurses, churches, clinics, Sunday schools “at the last mile” in Africa where people suffer from malaria.
- When we strengthen our African Lutheran partners, they tell others about Jesus!
- Shouldn’t we be doing things to help people here in the U.S.? Yes! We do that, too!
- Malaria is preventable and treatable.
- The education, prevention and treatment efforts going on right now in places like Tanzania are working!
- What about DDT? Governments make policy and argue about chemicals. Meanwhile, we have the means to severely reduce malaria deaths now. Let’s do it in the name of Jesus!
- “They can’t hear the Gospel if they have died of malaria” (Lutheran Bishop Walter Obare of Kenya—most of whose siblings are dead of malaria).
Learn more at www.lcms.org/lmi and join me in giving generously to LMI!
Pastor Matthew Harrison, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) is a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to mobilize U.S. Lutherans in the global effort to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. LMI is made possible through support from the United Nations Foundation.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison introduces Rev. Gregory K. Williamson, who joined the LCMS in January 2012 as the Chief Mission Officer. Learn more in a Reporter article here.