Go..and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father...Son and...the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

From the Pastor's Desk

 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

            As we look to the beginning of a new year, I find myself remembering the days when we would use B.C. or A.D. to mark the times. As many of you probably know, these have been replaced in our history books with C.E. and B.C.E.

            What do all these abbreviations mean? As far as the new designations are concerned, C.E. and B.C.E. stand for “Common Era” and “Before Common Era” respectively. But what about the old usages? Many are familiar with B.C. as referring to the time “before Christ”. Some mistakenly take A.D. to mean “after death.” When in fact, A.D. refers to the Latin “Ano Domini” which translates to “The Year of the Lord.”

            This way of thinking of time is quite appropriate. God is ultimately in charge of time. What happens to us, what is coming down the line, and when our time will end, these are all things that are left up to God. The psalmist writes:

“My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!” Ps 31.15

He understands whose hands his time is in. And we should too. And so as we begin a new year, we begin it recognizing God is the one in charge of the times and seasons. God is the one who will determine what will happen this new year.

            It is tempting for us to try to rush things along as far as God is concerned. We think we know best when things should happen, and how those things should take place. It is for this reason that the writer of Habakkuk writes to encourage us:

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Hab. 2:3

If it seems slow, wait for it. Many read the book of Revelation and try to determine when the end will come. They will look at some of the signs of the end that St John warns about and draw correlations between these and current events. With that in mind, these signs should remind us of Jesus’ warning to be ready. We should take to heart the words from Habakkuk, “wait for it, it shall surely come.”

            Sure, we don’t know when it is going to come. It could be centuries down the line. Jesus himself warned us that we do not know when it will come. Before He left His disciples, He spoke to them:

“[Jesus] said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” -Acts 1:7

It is not for us to know. We don’t know when, but we have God’s assurance it will happen. We simply have to wait.

            While you wait though, God gives us a few things you can be doing.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

First, do not grow weary of doing good. Keep at it. Stay strong in doing the good works God has prepared in advance that you should walk in (Eph. 2:10). What sustains us in doing these good works? Knowing that in due season we will reap. When the proper time comes, we will receive our reward. So do not give up. Stand firm. Your time is in God’s hands.

            Second, St. Paul encourages us to share the word. No matter the time, no matter the place, we should be ready to proclaim the good news God has given us.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Tim. 4:2

Third, Paul says to have patience, speak the word, and be ready no matter the time or the season. You never know when you may be called on to share God’s Good News.

            I recall running through an airport to catch a plane because the people I was traveling with were late getting there. We missed the flight, but ended up talking with a gentleman about how we, myself and two friends, were preparing to go to seminary. We talked about our faith, the Bible, and what this person believed. Who knew that God would give us this opportunity? Our time was in God’s hands. He knew what He was preparing us for. He knew how He could use that time for His Kingdom. We just had to be ready.

            So, whether it’s A.D. or C.E. doesn’t really make that big of a difference. The time is still God’s time. We are still in His hands. God bless the new year, and keep us ready.In Christ, Pastor Nathan Peitsch

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St. Matthew Lutheran Church
504 Walnut
Mapleton, IA 51034
712-881-2243

Office Hours:
Tuesdays 8:30 a.m.--3:30 p.m.

Pastor Nathan Peitsch (Vacancy Pastor) 515-570-8078
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