Evils Worse Than Death
Tuesday of Pentecost 24
6 November 2018
May a Christian be a soldier? People who have taken up the vocation of military service often struggle to place their vocation within the context of their calling as Christians. Is it right to kill in war? The vocation of soldiering should not be understood merely to be about killing, but keeping the peace. The greater context is that soldiering has as its goal to avoid worse evils such as tyranny and chaos. Will a soldier always be right in his actions? Well, no. Not anymore than the rest of us. All of us sin every day in our vocations, but we all must live under the merciful care of God, who absolves sin, even the sin of soldiers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should thank God for soldiers, who by doing their duty ward off evils far worse than death.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"We must, in thinking about a soldier's office, not concentrate on the killing, burning, striking, hitting, seizing, etc. This is what children with their limited and restricted vision see when they regard a doctor as a sawbones who amputates, but do not see that he does this only to save the whole body. So, too, we must look at the office of the soldier, or of the sword, with the eyes of an adult and see why this office slays and acts so cruelly. Then it will prove itself to be an office which, in itself, is godly and as needful and useful to the world as eating and drinking or any other work.
"There are some who abuse this office, and strike and kill people needlessly simply because they want to. But that is the fault of the persons, not of the office, for where is there an office or a work or anything else so good that self-willed, wicked people do not abuse it? They are like mad physicians who would needlessly amputate a healthy hand just because they wanted to. Indeed, they themselves are a part of that universal lack of peace which must be prevented by just wars and the sword and be forced into peace. It always happens and always has happened that those who begin war unnecessarily are beaten. Ultimately, they cannot escape God's judgment and sword. In the end, God's justice finds them and strikes."

Martin Luther, Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved
Luke 3:10-14

And the crowds asked him, "What then shall we do?" And he answered them, "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise." Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Collect no more than you are authorized to do." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." (ESV)
O Lord Christ, watch over and protect all those who have taken up the vocation of soldiering. Help them overcome temptation and give them strength for a holy, reverent, chaste, and honest life in word and deed. Assure them of Your merciful care through the forgiveness of theirs sins. Amen.
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he might be lead by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God
For all who travel, that the holy angels would watch over them
For the gift of clement weather in thanksgiving to God, that we would rejoice at the blessings of fall weather
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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