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Spiritual Matters

Hope stems from Christian values

August 20, 2014 - Christian values are important to many of us. We were brought up in a world that seems so different from our world today.

Wars and violence create anxiety. We watch what is taking place in other parts of the world and wonder at the looks of anger and hatred we see on the faces of the people, then see the look of anguish at the loss of loved ones. Has life really changed?

As we approach the end of another summer we will soon find, in many ways, a different world.

Children will return to school. Our vacation schedules may be over for another year and we face the long periods of work before us. We will find the days a little cooler, the nights a little longer, and the trees begin to change color.

My wife and I were amazed a few days ago that some sumac trees were already changing to a brilliant red color! This is a reminder of the sleep of winter soon approaching.

The sleep of winter for the earth and for many animals often reminds me of the Christian view of death.

St. Paul writes these inspired words in 1 Corinthians 15: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

We might wonder about those words as we stand at a grave site with strong memories of the loved one laying at our feet because the sting is real and the victory seems so finite. Our sin convicts us.

St. Paul also reminds us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). He continues by telling us that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Earlier he had written Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (6:3-4)

What a glorious victory it is! It is Easter Sunday re-lived every day as we awake from sleep and begin a new day. It is celebrating the life we are given every day as we take another breath of air. It is remembering all the blessings God brings to us as we feel the warmth of the sunshine, a kind word, another's forgiveness, and a welcome embrace.

So how do our Christian values play into all this? We hold out the word of hope for those struggling.

We pray for those whose lives are embattled by the war around them (after all, we are all in battle with sin!). We lead through Christ-like examples in sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus. We lead others to His peace.

Join us beginning Sept. 24 as Dave Ramsey guides us to Financial Peace Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Call 248-625-4644 for information.

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

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