The following statement was read by Pr. Michael Kumm (Pr. Todd Wilken’s pastor) at the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions (March 25-27, 2008, in Bloomington, MN).
You have to appreciate how Pr. Wilken puts things in perspective with his comments about blood and martyrs, but especially with Christ Jesus being our true, eternal Friend, and the true Martyr who shed His blood for us!
When I was on the air, I often joked about retreating each night to the “Wilken Compound” and closing the gate. Radio can be an isolating profession. I would even say in jest, “I have no friends.” I was wrong.
In fact, the first thing Jeff said to me as the International Center’s doors closed behind us on Holy Tuesday morning was, “Now we’ll find out who our friends really are.” We have.
“Thank you” seems to fall short. “Thanks be to God” is better. In the days to come, we will need all the friends we can get.
We’ll always have one. His enemies called Him “the Friend of sinners.” To that I can testify. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”
The first person I called on that holy Tuesday morning was not my wife. The first person I called on that morning was my Pastor.
I love my wife (I called her next). My wife is my best friend in the world. But that morning I didn’t need a friend; I needed a pastor.
Our Church needs a faithful pastor too.
If you want to carry on the legacy of Issues, Etc., you already know what to do: Pastors, go to the pulpit and the altar, be faithful to God’s Word and the Lutheran Confession in everything you preach, teach and practice. Preach Christ crucified for sinners.
People of God, require your pastors to do nothing less and nothing more than that. Hear the Word, trust Jesus, live for your neighbor.
Everyone, when decisions are required (be they congregational, district or synodical), remember: You need a faithful pastor, and so does your Church.
I keep hearing in my head those words from Hebrews: “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” This is so true.
This story has no martyrs; no one has died. This story has no sacrificial lambs; no blood has been shed.
The only story I’m interested in telling is the story of the one Martyr, the story of the Lamb of God. That story has all the death and blood I will ever need.
The writer to the Hebrews also asks a question:
The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?
What can man do to me? What can man do to you?
The answer to that question is seen just inside the threshold of the hollow tomb; it is heard in the frightened voices of the women who saw Him alive again; it is written in the blood of the true martyrs mingled with the blood of their Savior.
What can man do to me? Nothing; Christ is risen.
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