Archive for November 11th, 2020


Three seemingly disparate events are associated together on this date: 

1.  On this date, Martin of Tours, Pastor and Bishop was buried in the city of Tours, France:

Born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around the year A.D. 316, Martin grew up in Lombardy (Italy). When he was  fifteen, being the son of a soldier, he was drafted to serve in the army. He was apparently a good soldier and popular with his comrades. One winter night when he was stationed in Amiens, Martin saw a poor old beggar at the city gate shivering in the cold, and, having nothing else to give him, he drew his sword, cut his own cavalryman’s cloak in two, and gave half to the man to wrap himself in. The next night Martin dreamed of Christ in heaven wearing his half-cloak and saying, “Martin, still a catechumen, has covered me with his cloak.” The young soldier, however, found it increasingly difficult to combine his own ideal of a Christian life with the duties of the military. Eventually he decided to be baptized and asked to leave the army, since he was no longer willing to kill. Like his modern counterparts, this fourth century “conscientious objector” had difficulty proving he was not a coward, but finally he was released, now about twenty years old. Sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was “Christ’s soldier.” Eventually, Martin was named bishop of Tours in western Gaul (France). He is remembered for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel throughout rural Gaul.  (From Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

2.  On November 10th, 1483, Eisleben, Germany, to a miner and his wife a son was born.    Baptisms were done quickly due to infant mortality. The next day Hans and Margarette brought their son for Baptism on  St. Martin’s Day.  So they named him Martin, as was the custom, after the saint’s day he was baptized.  The son baptized today was Martin Luther. Martin Luther would be remembered for his determination to share the pure Gospel throughout the Roman Catholic Church and Western Europe.

3. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the armistice was signed ending World War I and today is the 100th year after the end of the most brutal and bloody war in history at that time, and this date became Veteran’s Day.  We remember all military, soldiers and sailors, who have defended our nation in war.  We thank them for their service and the best way to do that is: THANK A VETERAN TODAY and exhort our government and each other to give good service in the VA who have given good service for us!

What do these 3 commemorations have in common? They are all about being a soldier, faithful, true and bold. Soldiers who for church and nation fought for peace.

We are at this time of bitter political fighting. Fighting which is not only in words but a bricks and bats and wanton destruction of property. Neither Martin of Tours nor Martin Luther condoned such. Why? The Lord in His peace called them, baptized them, sent them. We are a long was off even from the ‘60s and “give peace a chance”. Instead, anarchy is in air in so many cities. No longer is the Beatitude extolled:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  We do not see many sons of God on the streets of Portland, Chicago, D.C., Kenosha, etc. It matters what has happened and is still occurring. And it matters as the Lord blesses those who make for peace both temporal and eternal:  we are called to do the same as sons and daughters of God.  So, the whole armor of God includes shoes of peace:

“…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”  Ephesians 6: 15

St. Paul probably had in mind the armor of a Roman soldier. A Roman soldier’s footwear looked like this:

Pin on The Eagle's Shadow - Romans

The Lutheran Study Bible footnote on this verse: “A Roman soldier wore half-boots studded with nails to help him stand firm.  The preaching of the Gospel of peace has, ironically, prepared us for battle.”

With those studs, like studs on running shoes, a soldier would have a grip to run and then take his stance. God’s peace of His forgiveness keeps us steady and ready. 

It is clear that this sandal is like no footwear sold at any store!  Likewise, peace in the Bible, God’s peace is not like what is literally sold out in the world. Books, gurus, ministers et. al. make money over their programs and nostrums to produce peacefulness. Usually, by ‘peace’ what is meant are “peaceful feelings” as being “at peace”. Good feelings in general are desirable:  they can tell us we are okay and so are bad feelings, as in pain, they  can tell us something is wrong.  A feeling is the result of something else, good or bad. Peaceful feelings are a symptom but not the cause.  One can take away physical pain but the cause of that pain is left untreated only causing trouble for another day.  Clearly, feelings of peace are not the cause of peace.  God’s Word clearly teaches us that peace may not produce  peacefulness, instead, readiness with the Gospel of peace, prepares us for battle!   

The usual definition of peace is  the absence of conflict, war, struggle.  This definition is only a negative, a lack of something.  This kind of peace, absence of conflict, can become home to a host of things far worse. As the Lord taught:

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” St. Luke 11: 24-26

Having no struggle, conflict,  war, is an absence, and absence is emptiness. Our sinful lust for more, even for peacefulness, to fill that swept and empty house results in doing anything to fill the void and  feel peaceful and good again:   more drugs, more pleasures, more satisfactions.  The last state can become worse than the first.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace-Ephesians 2: 13-14

The Lord shows us that peace is not mere absence but Presence. Peace has a name: Christ Jesus. He is our peace and that comes from the Atonement and Reconciliation of His Body and Soul upon the Cross. He alone cures the fever in our blood by His blood shed for warring humanity.  Mao Tse-Tung (old spelling), once dictator of communist China wrote that peace comes from the end of a gun barrel.  In one sense, he was correct, tragically correct.  It will look like peace, but only being terror and tragic emptiness. Peace does not come from the end of a gun barrel but it has come from the foot of His Cross and fullness of His life, eternal life.   Peace is reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ in His forgiveness of the entire world received in faith as pure gift.  This is His Presence and as Lutherans say of the Holy Communion: His Real Presence. 

Peaceful feelings are usually only about the self, the person alone.  Christ, our peace, is for us and our salvation, that the “dividing wall of hostility” is  broken down in His flesh (Ephesians 2:13-15) between each other in Jesus Christ.  All Christians who cling as lambs to the Shepherd and as children to their Father, know each other.  They know each other as sinners.   Pr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote,  “In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.” Sinners forgiven in Jesus Christ.  They know each other forgiven.

His peace then prepares us for battle.  His peace is for the “good fight of faith” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.  Again, Pr. Bonhoeffer:  ““When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the Spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”  This is called “sanctification”, being made holy by the Holy Spirit in the work of Jesus through the Word and Sacraments.  It is the struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.  The Apostle Paul makes this so clear in Ephesians 6 about the whole armor of God. Some 4 times, he uses the word  “stand”, to take a stand, to withstand, to fight against the powers and principalities.  It is not a struggle against someone else’s flesh and blood, only my own and yours.  But it is a struggle against the false doctrine and teachings of the world we see arrayed in commercials, say, to want and covet more and more; in the lusts resulting in an ideology that says if it feels good, do it and look what has happened to marriage and the family…we could sadly go on.  But like those Roman Soldier’s sandals, His peace is for us to take stand upright and firm in His grace and mercy for us and for others, to battle for  souls and lives. 

A Prayer for Peace

Heavenly Father, our hearts are heavy as eyes are overwhelmed with visions of violence throughout our world. Our fellow Christians are murdered without remorse in lands where the true faith once thrived. Believers are attacked, berated and humiliated as they stand for the truth of Your Word. Our streets teem with lawlessness, destruction and hostility. And many who confess to follow You abandon Your teachings.

In the midst of this harsh reality, teach us Your ways. Keep our feet firmly planted on the solid foundation of Your Word. Set our eyes on the cross of our Savior, Jesus. Let our ears be soothed with gentle words of the Gospel. Let our peace be found in the perfect life, death and resurrection of Your Son. Give us courage to stand up to all who deny You and would silence Your teachings. Give us wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent. Through the Holy Spirit’s power, let Your enemies hear and believe the truth, that they may be saved from their eternal destruction. And in all these things, let Your will be done.

In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.

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