PASTOR'S PAGE.................................................MAY 2020
On Good Friday Jesus’ body is reverently, but hurriedly, placed in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. In the tomb, Jesus partakes of Sabbath rest. Saturday is the seventh day. It is the day on which God Himself rests: God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation. He who is God of God rests, His work has been completed. He has cried from His cross, “It is finished!” He has truly earned His rest; a rest that only He could earn. His final work in the creation is done. All God’s work is complete. His foremost creatures have been saved.
Unlike all the rest who go down to the grave, His holy body would see no corruption. Though His body is packed in aromatic spices, this proof against the odor of death is absolutely unnecessary. St. Peter said of His rest in the tomb: He whom God raised up did not see corruption. This is no ordinary man who goes down into the grave. Death could not hold Him.
How different we are even living in the last day; caught as we are in the in-between-times! The icy grip of death has its hands around our throat. All of us have heard of people who have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. We know the fear they suffer. We ourselves are afraid for them. We are even afraid for ourselves. But to live in this fear is to live as though the tomb of Christ remained sealed shut. It is to live as though there were no resurrection.
It is to live as though baptism has not plunged us into the first death, buried through holy baptism into Christ’s death, so that the second death would not have any effect on us. The first death, the death we have been plunged into by holy baptism, does not bring corruption upon us but life itself; the very life of Jesus Christ, through whom we have been raised to the new life.
We do not live counting the days. We live now where days no longer count and therefore cannot be counted. We live in the eighth day, the day that has no end, the day inaugurated by the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, the day after the Sabbath rest, the eighth day, the only day, the last day. This is why our baptismal font is an eight-sided figure. It is to remind us that baptism puts us in the everlasting eighth day, the day when death is no more.
If time’s up, if there is only one day and there are no others, then Baptism Day is always Easter Day. It is always the eighth day. This is the moment in which we Christians live; not subject to time but living where the days do not march on.
And so here are many realities that we can know for sure are certain for us in Christ Jesus in the face of COVID-19—in the midst of the suffering of COVID-19. Here are eight promises that offset whatever anxieties you may be living with right now:
We know for certain “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
We know for certain “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
We know for certain the Christ in “whom I have believed, ... is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. (2 Timothy 1:12)
We know for certain “that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5)
We know for certain “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
We know for certain “that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1: 19-21)
We know for certain the reality that Job uttered in the midst of his many plagues—words that have now been fulfilled in God’s Son, our Savior, in ways Job never could have imagined:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27)
We know for certain what Jesus says of His sheep: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27–29)
So, as you live in the ongoing, everlasting eight day, strongly embrace these promises, throw your fears upon Jesus, and surrender yourself wholly to Him once again.
I am looking forward to the day when we can all be together in worship once again.
In Christ, Pastor Wagner
Registered Visitors at First Trinity for March/April 2020 - (Visitors who filled out cards.)
Apr 5 Dave/Sharon Kettelhut – Fairbury, NE
Church Offering Income for the Month of March: $31,827.36
THOSE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF MAY
Kent Parde 1 Michael Sothan 13
JW Beethe 6 Angie Belding 14
Orma Hahn 7 Anna Pohlmann 14
Arlene Meyer 7 Judy Pohlmann 18
Toni Lisec 9 Renee Kettelhut 19
Leon Zimmerman 10 Abby Schuck 29
Deanna Beethe 13 Walter Neumann 30
Katie Genrich 13
THOSE CELEBRATING BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF MAY
Jonathon Schleufer 1 David Barnard 13
Mariah Brandt 3 Betsy Spilker 15
Karen Reynolds 7 Jane Niemeier 22
Carolyn Brott 8 Leon Zimmerman 22
Brian Genrich 12 Arlene Meyer 27
Kent Parde 12
*If your birthday, baptismal birthday, or anniversary date is missing from our lists, please contact the church office so we can include it next year.