|As we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th, Independence Day, we Christians as citizens of heaven need to take a look , as sojourners here on earth , at our citizenship here in the United States of America. The founding fathers of our nation, as they wrote the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution, worked from a Judaic Christian heritage. They openly stated that for our nation to succeed as a democracy it needed to have a moral base. Without that moral foundation the structure that they framed for our nation would soon collapse. A visiting French historian and author, Alexis de Tocqueville, made this observation about America in the 1800�s: �I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers � and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce � and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution � and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.�
¯ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
As we take a look at our nation, and yes, even at many mainline churches here in America we can see that America has lost its moral compass and the goodness and righteousness that God gives us by faith in Jesus Christ. For this we as Christians need to repent as we share in our nation�s rebellion against God and His Word and ask His forgiveness trusting that the promise God made to Israel of old applies today also to us believers here in the United States . �... if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, search for Me, repent of their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their country.� (2 Chronicles 7:14)
St. Paul writing his second and last letter to a young pastor named Timothy gave these words of instruction and encouragement. �1 In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and in view of His coming and His ruling over us, I solemnly charge you: 2 Preach the word, be ready whether it is convenient or not convenient, Literally: "in season or out of season." correct, rebuke, encourage, being very patient and thorough in your teaching. 3 A time will come when people will not listen to sound teaching but, following their own desires, they will surround themselves more and more with teachers who say what they want to hear. 4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths. 5 But you keep a clear head in everything, endure hardship, do the work of one who preaches the Gospel, do everything that God desires you to do as a minister.� (2 Timothy 4:1-5) When I began my ministry in 1968, at Zion and Redeemer Lutheran Parish in Boyd, Minnesota, for the most part I could say that here in America it was still �in season� to preach the word. As I come to the close of my ministry I have to say that more and more our message of Law and Gospel, sin and grace is �out of season� here in America. We live in a culture that is not only indifferent to the message of the cross but also growing more hostile. Next to China and India, America is now the third largest mission field. And what a mission field it is that lies before us! The mission field is no longer just overseas. We have a hurting world right here in the US that needs to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Taking to heart St. Paul�s words of encouragement from the Holy Spirit, we need to keep a clear head and keep preaching the Good News knowing that God�s Word is powerful and active and does not come back to Him empty.
586 Preach You the Word
Text (sts. 1�6): © 1971 The Franzmann Family Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, number 100010893. Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
1 Preach you the Word and plant it home
To men who like or like it not,
The Word that shall endure and stand
When flow�rs and men shall be forgot.
2 We know how hard, O Lord, the task
Your servant bade us undertake:
To preach Your Word and never ask
What prideful profit it may make.
3 The sower sows; his reckless love
Scatters abroad the goodly seed,
Intent alone that all may have
The wholesome loaves that all men need.
4 Though some be snatched and some be scorched
And some be choked and matted flat,
The sower sows; his heart cries out,
�Oh, what of that, and what of that?�
5 Of all his scattered plenteousness
One-fourth waves ripe on hill and flat,
And bears a harvest hundredfold:
�Ah, what of that, Lord, what of that!�
6 Preach you the Word and plant it home
And never faint; the Harvest Lord
Who gave the sower seed to sow
Will watch and tend His planted Word.