God Guards Life and Property
St. James of Jerusalem, Brother of Jesus and Martyr
23 October 2018
Envy is the green-eyed monster. Covetousness gives birth to many other sins including sins against the fifth commandment. The looting that floods over stricken towns and neighborhoods affected by hurricanes shows what happens when envy is unleashed. Violence is conceived in a heart that is full of envy against our neighbor's material blessings. When we are full of envy, we must not act on it, but repent of it, because God our heavenly Father surrounds our neighbor's life and goods with the commandment forbidding violence. God protects the gifts of life and property for the good of the community. They are the inalienable rights guaranteed not just by government, police, or the National Guard, but by God. And there is no better guard of life or property than God Himself.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"When your neighbor sees that you have a better house and home, a larger family and more fertile fields, greater possessions and fortune from God than he does, he gets in a bad mood, envies you, and speaks no good of you.
"So by the devil's encouragement you will get many enemies who cannot bear to see you have any good, either bodily or spiritual. When we see such people, our hearts also would like to rage and bleed and take vengeance. Then there arise cursing and blows. From them misery and murder finally come. In this commandment God-like the kind father-steps in ahead of us, intervenes, and wishes to have the quarrel settled, so that no misfortune comes from it and no one destroys another person. And briefly, He would in this way protect, set free, and keep in peace everyone against the crime and violence of everyone else. He would have the fifth commandment placed as a wall, fortress, and refuge around our neighbor so that we do not hurt or harm him in his body."

Martin Luther, 
Large Catechism, 1.84-85
Psalm 46:7-11

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Grant, O God, that, following the example of Your servant James of Jerusalem, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are in conflict and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For the preaching of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and for its spread throughout the whole world, especially our community
For the persecuted, that they might be upheld in the faithful confession of the blood and death of Jesus Christ our Lord
For those who walk in the shadow of death, that they might fear no evil
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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