• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,396,227 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,269 other subscribers
  • June 2008
    M T W T F S S
  • Recommended Reading

D-Day And The Return Of The King

This article is taken from the weblog of Pr. Maurice Frontz, Messiah Lutheran Church (ELCA), South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The sermon’s title is “Today.” I think he shares some interesting thoughts for us to consider on this anniversary of D-Day.

“There’s a great scene from the movie, The Longest Day, which is about the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. An old Frenchman who lives on the beach always wakes up first thing in the morning. The first thing he sees out the window every day is the overweight German soldier bringing the morning coffee to the men who man the beach guns.

“On D-Day, he opens the windows as usual, but this time something is different. He and the German soldier see at the same time the Allied fleet massed off the coast, and when the guns of the fleet open up, he sees the soldier knocked off his horse and running for cover. As the bombardment intensifies, his wife is in hysterics, afraid for her life, but the old Frenchman loves it. He pulls out the tricolor, the flag of France, runs to the window and begins waving it for all he’s worth, screaming not in terror, but in joy.

“Sure, the bombs are falling, but what does it matter? Liberty comes. The enemy flees. Freedom is here. Now there was no French king who was sailing across the Channel that day. There were only a handful of French who participated in the actual D-day invasion. But the theme of a king returning from exile is a powerful one in story.

“He invades his own land, not trespassing, but occupying his rightful place. When he kicks out the ruling party, he does so because the ruling party has usurped his authority. Two of the best-selling movie franchises of recent days are variants on that theme. In Star Wars it is Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, who returns from exile, as it were, to defeat the Emperor and his minions, to win back his father from evil.

“In Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, descendant of the kings of Gondor, returns to that land to defeat its enemies and rule justly in the place of the unwise and unjust steward. But the Frenchman from the Longest Day is the only image I have of the one who is longing for that return from exile. Day after day he has to watch as foreigners occupy his land.

“Day after day he must endure the humiliation and ask, ‘how long? how long?’ And one day, he doesn’t have to wait anymore. It’s today that the free peoples return from exile, today that he can bring out the flag that has been hidden away.

“Sisters and brothers, the story of the people of God is the story of a people in exile. Whether you’re in the part of the Old Testament where the people of Israel are exiled in Egypt or you’re reading the part where they are in Babylon, they know they’re supposed to be somewhere else.

“They’re supposed to be in the land that was promised. So they are looking for a day when God will bring them back from exile to that promised land. God did it once in bringing them back from Egypt, and they wait for him to do it again. But what happens when they’re actually in the land?

“The story of their lives does not end happily, but the problems continue – they are harassed by unworthy leaders, shepherds who do not care for the flock. It is not that they are in exile, the people… but the king is in exile. They are in the land, but God in the person of his king is missing. And so they wait for that promised return.

“God himself has promised that he will send them new shepherds, raise up a righteous Branch, someday. In between that someday and their present they wait, watching the foreign occupiers ride past, living with their own sin and the sins of others,

“Has God abandoned them or rejected them? Is God to be angry forever? When will the ‘someday’ become ‘today?’ We might ask the question too. For we wonder as well sometimes whether or not we are a people from whom God is in exile.

“If we are confident people who build upon past accomplishments for future success, we may not experience that. But none of us are that confident all of the time, and some of us are confident not much of the time. Perhaps in secret places we don’t talk about readily, we too know the feeling of that Frenchman, opening our eyes every morning only to see the enemy ride past in his security and swagger, and asking, “How long?” We look toward the future, half fearful, half hopeful, asking when will the promised someday become today?

“Today. The angels above Bethlehem cry out, ‘Today is born to you in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’ The young man in the synagogue in Nazareth cries out, ‘Today this Scripture of release and salvation is fulfilled in your hearing.’ The prophet stands with the hated tax collector Zacchaeus and cries out, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, for he too is a son of Abraham.’ The crucified man lifts his head from his chest and cries out, ‘Today you shall be with me in paradise.’

“The Jesus Luke proclaims is always the Jesus of ‘today.’ His very presence is the today of salvation, God’s return from exile to his own land, to his own people, to us, to all who long for his salvation.

“We could have never expected it, for by our sin we have cast him out and rejected him, and lived in a world where his power is unknown and the power of those shepherds who destroy the sheep of the pasture is rampant. But he comes, and the miracle is that wherever he is, in the manger, on the cross, in the Word, on our tongues, the “today” of God’s return from exile is here.

“Friends, the exiled one is king again – the guns are still firing and the world does not recognize him, but he is here among us. He offers his salvation to a child today. He speaks his word of authority today. He feeds me and you with his presence today. Though the strife of life continues, we are full of joy, for the King of heaven has returned to his earth in Jesus Christ. . . .”

Do We Fear Too Much Or Too Little?

What are you afraid of? Some fears are irrational. Perhaps you are flooded with anxiety when you find yourself in a small closed in area or when you are somewhere that is overcrowded with people. Other fears are quite rational; such as running out of a house that is on fire or getting out of the way of a speeding car. For Christians there is deliverance from irrational fears: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) “I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) Our hearts are calmed and fear ends when we fully understand that we are always in the middle of God’s sovereign care.

There is a fear, however, that not only is positive and protects us – but actually encourages us to grow spiritually and to become more intimate with God. This is the fear of the Lord. When we fear God, we properly understand that there is no need to fear anything else. The psalmist writes, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.” (34:7) Solomon instructs us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10) The fear of God delivers us from the fear of man and brings with it the knowledge of the Divine.

Jesus walked upon the waves of life keeping its fears beneath His feet. Lord, help us to understand that we fear too much of life when we fear You too little.

%d bloggers like this: