St. Paul Lutheran Church, Runge: The Cost of Discipleship
Sep 12, 2013 | 92 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the 1930's Germany was a nation falling into despair. The country was on the verge of hopelessness with an economy in trouble and unemployment on the rise. Then an orator with a new vision to stir the people into believing in his theories and ideologies slowly takes root and seeks a following. Grassroot organizations take hold and spread his message of supremacy of the state over religion. They dub anyone who disagrees as enemies so followers had someone to blame. National laws are written to reflect those ideas. It was a dangerous time and many of the people were like sheep who were led the wrong way and did not speak out.

Martin Niemoller was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. This quote stems from Niemoller's lectures during the early postwar period. "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me."

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian and pastor, was called by God and did speak out with extraordinary faith and sought to deliver the nation from the curse of Nazism. Bonhoeffer was determined to do the will of God radically, courageously, and joyfully--even to the point of death. Bonhoeffer put God first in everything and didn't care about the cost being too high for what he believed. Bonhoeffer was executed in 1945 at a concentration camp for his part in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak, Not to act is to act".

The Gospel lesson that Pastor Randal Bruno used for the basis of his sermon came from chapter 14 of Luke and includes verse 27: "Carry the cross and follow me". Following Christ has a cost--The Cost of Discipleship. God asks us to hold onto our faith and keep God first in our lives. Following Christ means total submission to him-perhaps even to the point of death. What are the costs? Christians may face loss of social status or wealth or career. They may be hated, separated from their family, and even put to death. Following Christ does not mean a trouble-free life. We must carefully count the cost of becoming Christ's disciples so that we will know what we are getting into and won't be tempted later to turn back.

Sunday morning worship services at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Runge begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by fellowship, Sunday School, and adult Bible study of Revelation. All community senior citizens are invited to Third Thursday Fellowship on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 12:30. Women's Bible Study meets Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m. at the Monecke's home and Wednesday evening Bible Study of The Incarnation meets Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to join in the worship services, the study of the Word of the Lord, and the fellowship. Come and see.

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