Pastoral Letter

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
He utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:2-7)

Dear Zion, beloved City of God,

These verses come from Psalm 46, the psalm that Martin Luther paraphrased in his
hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” You and I will sing that hymn at the end of October
for the Feast of Reformation (October 27-28) as we remember how the Holy Spirit
revealed the truth of the Gospel through the Lutheran reformers. They certainly knew
all about how “the nations rage”—and don’t we, also?

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter—or as Luther writes in his hymn: the old evil foe,
sworn to work us woe, with dread craft and might has armed himself to fight. Nations
will always shudder at the thought that Christians have a higher allegiance (to Christ our
captain!), and the old devil works through such fear to make the Christian faith appear
almost perverse to our neighbors. “How can the Church forgive such horrible sins?”
complains one soul. “How dare the Church call my behavior a sin!” complains another.
To many, our faith can look as crooked as the cross, and their suspicion and judgment
can tempt us away from the faith, too.

Yet Psalm 46 and Luther have both shown to us our trusty sword and shield in this battle:
He utters His voice, the earth melts—and not only the earth, but also hearts! We
continue to learn, love, digest, and share the Gospel, in season and out. How blessed Pr.
Johnson and I are to be your servants in this ministry, and to be raising up a new one in
Vicar Pinzl, and to work with Kantor Beethe in singing His praise. God’s Word is your
great heritage, Zion, and will be yours forever!

Pastor Gjerde