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Posts Tagged ‘ebola’

The Missionary Task and the World.

It is hard to find it on the morning “news”, what with the cooks, the fitness guru’s, the stars and the singers but if you can wend through the “bread and circuses” you will find out that things were not as bad as you though they were – they are much, much worse.  If we were able to find out what was going on in Paris you probably missed the fact that 2000 people were killed by the Bokol Haram group in Nigeria.  If you got those two tidbits between the celebrity “tell all” stories you probably missed the fact that Al-Sahbaab attacked the military base that was the center for Africa Union troops and caused a lot of damage.  Since the scare of ebola seems to be over here in the States, you might have missed the fact that 7000 Africans have died from it and there appears to be no end in sight.  In the meantime Christian populations from Iraq, parts of Syria and vast areas of the mid – east have been effectively purged.

“Christianity should be realistic in terms of goals and obstacles in mission work.  Here we would do well to limit our understanding and wisdom in light of God’s purpose and intentions.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Prov 3:5-6).  All the obstacles to mission – stark opposition, financial constraints, theological confusion about the actual nature of mission, etc. – gnaw at the confidence placed in our efforts…….The gap between Western economic wealth and poverty in other countries is widening and creating obstacles for missionaries and their perceived identity and purpose.”  So says Detlev Schulz in his masterful work “Mission From the Cross” published by CPH.  Schulz also says that “Putting mission work into practice is more organized and transitory than the ideal suggests”.  We will be speaking to that as we move forward.

The point now is that missions is a dangerous and sometimes dubious enterprise that should be entered into with eyes wide open and as much information, protection and support as one can get.  The Office of International Mission seeks to give that support and information to missionaries and short term mission trips as well.  The Best Practices document was a mandate of the Synod in convention.  A by-law of our church body says that the Board for International Missions is the “only sending agency of funds and personnel for the Synod to foreign fields.  These seem to me to be prudent and necessary ways that we become “realistic” in terms of goals and obstacles in mission work.

Please look at the best practices document for the LCMS in discussing a short term missions.

http://wmltblog.org/2015/01/lcms-best-practices-in-short-term-mission/

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Taking off the Garment – There is the Danger.

hazmet suites

 

We’re watching the stocks go up for companies that make hazardous material suits. With the breakout of the Ebola virus the training of healthcare workers, the truth of what we are hearing from the government, and how well do the suits work that are supposed to protect are all  questions that I’ve been asked several times from the news media, and regular old people that are worried about what’s going on.

I have been in those suits and I remember being told by somebody who knew what they were doing, that the most dangerous time in the process is taking the suit off. You can be very careful in all that you do, and make one little misstep in removing the suit and you’re in trouble.

I thought about that in terms of the Gospel lesson for Sunday. Many of you commented on the strange idea that a man is thrown into outer darkness because he’s not wearing a wedding garment at a wedding banquet for a King’s son. Scholars will tell you that middle eastern potentates spare no expense when the children are married, even going to the lengths of supplying people with the clothing that they will wear. But I am more interested in the idea of all of us who have been given the role of Christ righteousness. We stand in the wedding feast completely clothes in the righteousness of Jesus. We have a perfect Eternal protective suit that saves us from the world and our own flesh and the power of the devil. Yet even with that great protection, the human heart is so simple, so deceitful, but it will try to remove the protective garments, and will then again be infected with death. The power of God is life. Our hearts are Idol factories that want to manufacture death. God continues supplying us with mercy and peace and strength through the good news of our salvation in Jesus. Eternal protection! Everything we need for life now and life in the world to come!

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