From the President, ABC District – Another Year of God’s Grace

By: Glenn Schaeffer

Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer

In Jesus’ name

The days of our lives pass as sand through an hourglass. It is useless to try to stop the relentless march of time. As the hymn writer Isaac Watts put it, “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, soon bears us all away; we fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day” (LW 180:5). Certainly time rolls on and before we know it, death is knocking at our door. But is it true that we will soon be forgotten like a dream?

Every son of Israel was given his name at the time of his circumcision (cf. Luke 2:21), and also our Lord was given His name, Jesus. It was an ordinary name as Jewish boys’ names went, but when attached to Mary’s Son, the name “Jesus” took on superlative significance! Remember what the angel said to Mary before she had even conceived her firstborn son? “Fear not, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High [God]. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33; cf. Matthew 1:20-21).

This Jesus who Luther says, “plays in the lap and at the breasts of His most gracious mother” is the eternal Son of God made visible in the flesh! This Jesus is a King like none other for His kingdom lasts forever! This Jesus is the One through whom we receive the forgiveness of sins and life over death!

This tiny bundle of humanity was given the name Jesus which means, “the Lord saves.” Jesus, just eight days after He is born, is already shedding His blood as our Saviour. As times passes Jesus fulfills His name most wondrously. God the Father laid on Jesus the sin of us all, and our sin killed Him. Jesus endured the rabbi’s circumcision scalpel and a Roman cross for us! For our salvation, Jesus shed His blood. He was crucified, died and buried. And why? Because, as the One named Jesus, He “would save His people [that includes you and me!) from their sins.”
Excitement and anticipation jockey with fear and trepidation within us as 2019 approaches. What awaits us? God only knows. How will we handle these unknowns? In the name of our Lord Jesus, that’s how.

When I was a kid a potato chip company had a promotion where they put a seven-inch plastic cowboy or Indian in every bag. My brother and I were obsessed with those plastic figurines, so we begged our mom and dad to buy more bags of chips. As each sack was opened we got another cowboy or Indian. These plastic men became our treasured possessions. But soon, my brother and I began to fight over the figurines. My brother claimed certain cowboys and Indians were his and I made similar claims. So what do you think my brother and I did?

We put our initials on the bottom of these plastic men. With permanent marker I printed on my men, “GS” and with that they became mine! They now had my initial—my name—on them!

The name Jesus is not only given to Mary’s Child. In fact, we were given the name “Jesus” when we were baptized in Jesus’ name. In our baptism, our Lord marked us with Jesus’ name using something far more durable than permanent marker. Our Lord marked us with the blood of Jesus. “Receive the sign of the holy cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified.” In so doing we became His—now and forever. He is the one who treasures us! His face beams with delight as He thinks on us for whoever has His name receives His blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation! As recipients of God’s grace, in Jesus’ name we sing, “Remember now the Son of God And how He shed His infant blood. Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace Another year of grace.” (LBW 181:2, Greet Now the Swiftly Changing Year)

To live our lives in another year of God’s grace means many things: that we face life’s trials and tribulations by praying—in Jesus’ name; that we are forgiven, and will forgive others—in Jesus’ name; that we know we will not “fly forgotten, as a dream at the opening of day” for the Lord never forgets those who belong to Him—in Jesus’ name; that we will do acts of service and love—in Jesus’ name; that we will give thanks to God for the blessings of food, clothing, home, and family—in Jesus’ name; that we will tell of His wondrous love in Christ Jesus to family, friends, neighbours, schoolmates and coworkers—in Jesus’ name.

To live our lives in another year of God’s grace means that whatever we do, whether in word or deed, we do it all—in Jesus’ name—to the glory of God our Father (Colossians 3:17).

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From the President, ABC District – Another Year of God’s Grace

Posted By: canluth
Posted On: December 20, 2018
Posted In: ABC District News, District Presidents, District Presidents, Feature Stories, Headline,

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