20/20

The common phrase “hindsight is 20/20” refers to it being easy to know the right thing to do after something has already happened. As we say good-bye to the year 2020, no matter what happens in 2021 we will no doubt look back on this past year as world changing. There will be things we could have done differently. Yet there will also be things we did right that we will give thanks to God for! Most importantly, we continue to praise God for remaining faithful even when we remain faithless (2 Tim 2:13).

I remember shortly after the tragic events of 9/11, the phrase “9/11 – God’s wakeup call to the US” was repeated over and over again. The impact on Church attendance sky rocketed those first couple weeks after the tragedy, but then returned to “normal” quite quickly.

This past year’s “invisible enemy” has had the opposite effect. Some Churches still aren’t worshipping in person despite the Bible’s clear mandate to do so (Heb 10:25). But as we have seen, God’s Word does not go out in vain. There is more Gospel on the Internet now than there was ever before. Individuals and families are engaging in God’s Word in their homes – some for the first time ever. More and more people are caring about theology – understanding how God operates in their daily lives according to His Word. Many families and friends are no longer taking each other for granted. For that, let us give thanks to God.

Unlike the tragic event of 9/11, this year’s pandemic has not been a snap of the finger “wake up call.” It’s been an on-going alarm! Yet God does work out all things for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). I sincerely pray and trust that 2020 has been a fruitful time when hindsight will show us that God was granting His children a renewed “20/20 vision” in both Law and Gospel.

First, regarding the Law, this past year has brought all our idols out of the closet. We have seen how the world and even baptized members of Christ’s church have put their fear in a virus, love of big Government, science, and personal freedom, and trust in a vaccine above all things in contrast to the 1st Commandment, which teaches us to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. 2020 has been a season of repentance. Thanks be to God for making our idols so easy to identify that we might repent of them!

Second, where God leads us to repentance, He also gives faith. When we repent, we come to the foot of the cross. There we receive the Holy Absolution procured for us through the shedding of Christ’s body and blood, and pronounced by the Pastor who does so in Christ’s stead and by His command. That same body and blood Christ now gives under the bread and wine at His Table for the forgiveness of sins. Thanks be to God for making it ever so clear where we need to go for forgiveness, and how to receive it – by faith! Our cups overflows with God’s gracious provisions of Word and Sacrament. May we never take the Means of Grace for granted.

I recently found out that in many countries in Europe, worship is still forbidden in person by the governing authorities, while other countries are still only having services of ten or less people. This should give us a renewed sense of gratitude for the freedom we have here to worship without fear of tyranny or oppression. Lord, deliver us from evil! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

As we enter a new year, despite the uncertainties, we all need to believe, teach, and confess that God is still God. Nothing has changed for He who does not change (Mal 3:6). He will condemn the impenitent; He will save those who truly believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. 2020 has given us a clearer vision of both Law and Gospel than at any point in any of our lives. While this past year has witnessed “change and decay in all around we see”, Thou “who changest not abides with me” (LSB #878, “Abide with Me”, v. 4). Our Lord is a rock and refuge, a very present help in a time of trouble (Ps 46:1).

20/20 vision is a gift and a blessing, but there is no greater gift or blessing than clearly seeing, hearing, and receiving Jesus, who continues to come to us in Word and Sacrament. This is neither hindsight nor foresight, but the clear sight and testimony of the Word made flesh!

I love you all, and continue to remember you in my prayers. Happy New Year! May 2021 continue what 2020 has taught us: to strengthen our fear, love, and trust in God above all things!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Hromowyk

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LCMS-U at OSU

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COMMUNION STATEMENT
Special note to our visitors and guests: Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, are kindly asked to refrain from partaking of the Sacrament until first speaking with our Pastor.