Pastor's Column: "Give 'em heaven, Pastor!"

Isaiah 61:1; “The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me because the Lord has anointed me to deliver good news to humble people.  He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to announce that captives will be set free and prisoners will be released.”
    In our area, we are very willing to share our pulpits and buildings with our LC-MS pastors.  This makes it easy for funerals and weddings to take place where it is more accessible.  It also lets us rotate between churches and get to know the other parishioners in other parishes.  I always smile when I visit one particular church because in the sacristy where the pastor puts on his alb and vestments.  There is a handmade poster that hangs on the wall by the mirror.  It looks like it was made by about a 6th grade girl.  On the paper she wrote, “Give’em heaven Pastor!”
     I hope the men who preach there regularly never take down that note.  It is always a good reminder of the wonders that God has given to His people.  The prophet Isaiah tells us this frequently in the last portion of his book.  Starting in chapter 40 Isaiah proclaims hope, peace, mercy, forgiveness and restoration.  This is why Jesus refers to Isaiah when people are asking him about being the Messiah.  “This is what I am doing; ‘healing the brokenhearted, bringing good news to the humble and knocked down, offering hope to the lost and setting free the captives’ just like Isaiah prophesied.  That is what Jesus means to us.  His birth is the first sign of God’s restoration of His people.  A promise made long ago and looked to for many for many years as the deliverance from sorrow and suffering that God promised to bring to His people.
     This is the message of hope that God’s Word delivers.  This is the message of hope that the angels sang of when they appeared to the shepherds so long ago.  The wait was over; Jesus, God incarnate, was coming to free the prisoners.  Unfortunately, some believed this to be an earthly king who would drive out the Roman Empire and were disappointed when they watched Jesus die on the cross.  Yet this event is the exact event that was needed to secure total victory over sin, death and the devil.  This is what gives us eternal life and we proclaim from the highest mountain and the grandest vista but especially in the homes of those who still suffer and in the hospital rooms and nursing homes where the brokenhearted need healing.
“Give’em heaven!” Give them hope; give them peace, give them comfort but above all give them the certainty of God’s gracious invitation to receive the wondrous assurance of life everlasting.
Father, we give You thanks that the blind see, the deaf hear, the brokenhearted are healed and that You return us as Your people from our captivity.  Guide us to always see our hope is in You.  In the precious name of Jesus, we pray, amen.
God’s Peace, Pastor Bret Bierman, Trinity Lutheran, rural Mansfield