It is interesting the things that go through your mind driving around looking at the water and trying to hook people up with their Pastors. The folks from Cavalier were all evacuated and nursing home residents were transferred to our hospital and nursing home and I have been trying to get them in contact with each other. On my way to visit the Red Cross shelter I came upon this little scene. Now obviously the driver was in four wheel drive. He was in control of his speed and he thought he was in control of his direction, but if you notice the pickup simply slides off almost into the ditch and all the control that the driver thought he had was used against him by the road and the mud and the vehicle he thought he was controlling.
There is a metaphor for life in there somewhere. We always think we are in control but we really aren’t. Anyone who has ever been woken up in the middle of the night and told they have five minutes to pack a bag and get out knows what I mean. Luther is fun to read on topics like this. There are hints that he was much more in touch with the “battle going on all around us” than we are. One of the great little hints was going through my mind along with Cowper’s Hymn was the line from the morning prayer, “let your Holy Angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me”. He preached a Michealmas Sermon in 1530 where he tied angels and demons into the Two Kingdom doctrine in such a way that our everyday life is viewed as a battle ground that we serenely walk through never realizing the stuff going on around us. I found an article by John Stephenson in “Lutheran Theological Review, Number 9. Here is a comment about the fact that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour and God has his angels protect us what that meant to Luther and to us at times like these.
“Our post-modernist world can relate to Luther’s proclamation “that we do not sit in a safe garden”. His drastic pulpit imagery rests on a proof text long familiar to him from the office of Compline, I Pet. 5:8. A whole paragraph is devoted to unpacking this verse spoken “not by a drunkard or a joker, but in great and mighty earnest”………
The author then goes on to comment on our fascination with angels as noted in jewelry and statutes and books –
“His (Luther’s) comments on the closing chapters of Daniel attest his view that under the hand of God superhuman powers of good and ill are at work shaping the fate of humankind. This opinion cannot be dismissed as unbiblical mediaevalism. And both Luther’s demonology and his angelology speak powerfully to our post-modernist world that in the last decade of the second millennium has developed an ambivalent fascination with angels. Weak man may not in fact be an independent rider capable of choosing his own course, (we can’t even control our pickups) but rather a lowly beast ridden either by God or by the Devil. Beings touted as angels may turn out to be devils disguised as agents of light. Moreover, angels may not be accessible through the yellow pages, but may rather be servants of the crucified, risen, and ascended God-Man assigned to guard those who belong to Him. Indeed, our epoch of resurgent paganism may yet find much needed wisdom in the Reformer’s charming, naïve, and deeply believing Michaelmas sermon of 1530.”