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May 2013 - Be A Stubborn, Hungry Bat

                               Be A Stubborn, Hungry Bat

With the confirmation of several of our youth at hand, I reflected on what might be a good subject for this month’s article.  As I did so, I recalled a story I had mentioned in the past that might be worth touching upon once again:

A few years ago, three churches had a bat infestation problem – somewhat like “bats in the belfry”, but more accurately like bats in the sanctuary.    With their occasional swooping upon the parishioners, timely sweeps by the pulpit during the sermon, and assorted target practice sessions with bat guano (droppings), the bats were creating problems for the congregations.

            When the pastors of these congregations got together to discuss  their common difficulty, they decided to take it upon themselves to try and get rid of the bats, and then get back together after a month and compare notes to see how successful each was.

            The month passed, and they indeed got together to talk about how things went.  The first pastor, with a sad face, stated how he had tried a rather direct approach, a shot gun.  Whenever he saw a bat, he’d shoot.  Well, he didn’t hit any bats, but the sanctuary had new “air conditioning” in the ceiling that the bats seemed to enjoy.

            The second pastor told how he took a somewhat more humane approach.  He would trap the bats, and then after driving many miles out into the countryside, he would release them.  However, the bats would beat him to the church before he could get back.  He still had a bat problem. 

            Well, the third pastor happily announced that he no longer had a bat problem!  When the other pastors asked how he did it, he replied that he simply would just baptize and confirm them and he never saw them again!

            How often can that statement be made about church members or former members?  How often are there those who may have been baptized, may have gone to Sunday School, may have even been confirmed, and then do not enter the sanctuary again?  How often are there those who think that “they have had enough church”, and are all right?   How sadly mistaken and mislead they are.  Just as you cannot eat one or two meals only during your lifetime and then hope to live very long, so too can you not rely solely on early “feedings” of the Word and grace of God and hope to live spiritually.

            There are many, many dangers for Christians in this world – the devil and their own sinful flesh not the least of them.  And with those kind of dangers, we can never feed too much upon the Life-giving, faith-strengthening Word of God.  Rather, we need to feast regularly and frequently upon God’s Word and Sacraments. 

            Therefore, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to be a “stubborn bat”, and remain in the sanctuary  (your church), in spite of any gun blasts or traps from Satan or your flesh.  Remain where your heavenly Father can personally feed you with the most important food you most desperately need: the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, given to you through His Means of Grace.

            What more, you can also enjoy “daily snacks” from the Bread of Life by taking the time to read His Word in your homes.  Daily set aside some time to spend in His Word.  Take a moment to break out your catechism and prayerfully review the faith that has been handed down to you.   Those little snacks can go a long way toward nourishing your faith as you wait and long for the Banquet Feast delivered to you in the Divine Service on Sunday morning.   God’s richest blessings be unto you as you feast upon Him and His Word.

 

Pastor Reiser

 

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