Kyrie, Eleison!
Tuesday of Pentecost 3
2 July 2019
Our enemy will never give up. If old fashioned subversion to perversion will not suffice, our enemy will attempt to convert the church and these days he appears to be succeeding. The church is being sucked into the culture's ever deepening depravity and into the swirling decline of the West. Our enemy is piping us into the open sewer of self-centeredness, so that I think I am free to do whatever is right in my own eyes (Deut 12:8). Now, however, the church is offering to cover up this deterioration by calling such wickedness good. In the ultimate Nietzschian transvaluation of values, the church has called, in a monstrous perversion of language, "loving" and "monogamous" what God has forbidden and called "shameless acts" (Rm 1:24-27). But there is no possibility of a love that runs counter to the love that God has established in the faithful and holy unity of husband and wife in marriage, the Bible's monogamy. Our enemy has gotten us to commit suicide, as Malcolm Muggeridge warned the people of the West in the previous century. Simply stated, we are calling evil good and good evil.
The so-called church is turning the theology of the cross on its head. The church should be calling evil evil, so that God Himself can turn evil on its head in Christ, who takes evil into Himself and dies for it. But there can be no forgiveness through the blood of the crucified unless there are still sinful acts. Why should we seek forgiveness when we can theorize away our sin? Every human heart has the tendency to define down deviancy. Our wickedness would prefer to be called good, rather than precipitate dreaded repentance. However, what good is the power to forgive, power given to the church, if the church's children see no need for it? What if the earthly good and our knowledge of it become our own knowledge of God; our entire knowledge of God? What if our own interpretation of the natural revelation begins to trump the divine self-revelation in Scripture? The very warning sounded by Karl Barth against Nazi-dominated Germany in the 1930s ought to be sounded again over against the imposition of the politically correct sexual lunacy in the second decade of the 21st century. The transcendent must not be reduced to immanence. The creation is not god. A decisive "no" to human self-indulgence is worth expressing in every generation. We must be wrong, so that God might be our only righteousness. Lord, do not treat us as our sins deserve, but according to Your mercy.
Martin Luther said that the theologian of the cross only sees God's back, that is, the incarnation of God in Christ born of Mary. When we see by our own power, no matter how reasonable things seem, we are in jeopardy of not seeing. When we are telling God, rather than letting him tell us what His creation means, and us in it, then we are telling the potter how to shape the clay (Is 29:11-19). The worst possible transvaluation of values results; God becomes us and we become God. Woe unto us, for we are a poor, even perverse god. The report of the death of church bodies, upon which the tower of homosexuality fell, should lead us to deep repentance, for we are not better. Without repentance, we too will all perish. God takes the hole that that grief-filled repentance creates in our hearts and stakes the life of Christ the crucified within it. Only in that suffering of true repentance will the theology of the cross become real. There can be no accommodation of sin, only repentance. Kyrie, Eleison!

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Cyprian of Carthage
"After light has come to the nations and saving rays have shined for the preservation of men, that the deaf might receive the hearing of spiritual grace, the blind might open their eyes to God, the weak might grow strong again with eternal health, the lame might run to the church, the dumb might pray with clear voices and prayers when he saw his idols forsaken, and his lanes and his temples deserted by the numerous concourse of believers, what can be more crafty, or what more subtle, than for the enemy, Satan, detected and cast down by the advent of Christ, to devise a new fraud, and under the very title of the Christian name to deceive the incautious? He has invented heresies and schisms, through which he might subvert the faith, corrupt the truth, and divide the unity. Those whom he cannot keep in the darkness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way. He snatches men from the Church itself. While they seem to themselves to have already approached to the light, and to have escaped the night of the world, he pours over them again, in their unconsciousness, new darkness; so that, although they do not stand firm with the Gospel of Christ, and with the observation and law of Christ, they still call themselves Christians. Yet they are walking in darkness, they think that they have the light, while the adversary is flattering and deceiving, who, according to the apostle's word, transforms himself into an angel of light, and equips his ministers as if they were the ministers of righteousness. They maintain night instead of day, death for salvation, despair under the offer of hope, perfidy under the pretext of faith, antichrist under the name of Christ; so that, while they invent things like the truth, they annul the truth by their subtlety. This happens, beloved brothers, so long as we do not return to the source of truth, or do not seek the Head nor keep the teaching of the heavenly Master."

Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, 3
Isaiah 29:11-19

And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot read." And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden." Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?" You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. (ESV)
O Lord, have mercy on us. Amen.
For those who are traveling this day, that they would be kept safe as the holy angels watch over them
For Chaplain Donald Ehrke (Lt. Col. U.S. Army), who is serving in Japan, that he would be upheld in every good deed
For those who are suffering illness and are in need of God's rescue, that those who attend them might care for them and bring them the strength and healing they need
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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