God Pause for Tuesday, 7/1/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Tuesday, 7/1/2014 Reading: Psalm 145:8-14

We continue to reflect on the Scripture lessons for this week in light of Friday's celebration of Independence Day.

In 1942, young men began to show up at our house. Our house was the parsonage of First Lutheran Church. As in many small congregations those days, the pastor's office was not in the unheated worship center but in the parsonage next door. I was only 7 years old, and could not remember anyone previously coming to Dad's office; but now there was about one a week. These were young men, some very young, who had enlisted or were drafted as soldiers to defend our country.

For each young man, there was a blue star attached to a small flag near the altar. There were a surprising number of blue stars for such a small congregation. Many were not members but had been hastily confirmed and sent off to war with my father and the congregation's blessing. As 1943, 1944 and then 1945 passed, many of the blue stars had been sewn over with silver thread. They represented those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country and our freedom.

I do not know what went on in my pastor-father's study, but I do know that he loved the Psalms. These young boys and men were visibly frightened. I can picture Dad taking out his Bible and giving each soldier a blessing such as the one in this week's Psalm: "The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down." War is a terrible thing. Young men and women are cut down in their youth. Parents, spouses and families never fully recover from the dashing of their hopes and dreams. We remember this week that freedom comes with a high price. Our faith is often only a slender thread, but it is a thread that will not break. The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

God of peace and salvation, lift up all those who have paid the ultimate price that we might be free. Amen.

Hubert Nelson Eden Prairie, Minn. Master of Divinity, 1962

Psalm 145:8-14 (NRSV)

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you. 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, 12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds. 14 The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

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