For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself as a ransom. ... 1 Timothy 2:3-6a
It has been a number of decades since the man and his wife were found frozen to death in their automobile.
They had been traveling when they were trapped by a blizzard that dumped tons of snow and stranded a multitude of motorists. For long hours the couple had waited for rescue -- rescue which never came. When it appeared hope was gone, the wife had, with near frozen fingers, managed to scribble a note on a piece of paper and stuff it into the glove compartment.
Her message was simple, she wrote, "I don't want to die this way."
That sad note doesn't end the story. Tragically, neither the husband nor wife really had to die, at least not that day. Less than six feet from the couple's snow-covered car was another vehicle, a stranded bus.
Inside that bus the passengers almost had a festive mood. They were comfortable, warm, almost toasty, through that snowy night. When the newspapers got wind of that story, they asked the questions most people were thinking: "Why? Why hadn't the couple seen the bus? Why hadn't they checked to see if they might be welcomed? Why did that couple have to die, while the others lived?"
It occurs to me that scene is being played out in almost every neighborhood in our country. Death is coming and some people, the people who are spiritually alone, the people without a Savior, are afraid of its arrival.
The truth is they don't have to die -- not eternally. Throughout our nation there are churches, churches in the countryside and on the street corners, churches in the city and the suburbs. These churches come in all colors and sizes. And, if Word and Sacrament are properly administered, there is life and hope inside the fellowship of those churches.
Like the newspapers, we Christians ask, "Why? Why don't these people see our churches? Why don't they check to see if they might be welcomed? Why do they insist on dying, when God has sent His Son to do everything necessary, so they can live?"
Oh, there needs to be one more question asked: "Why didn't the people on that bus, that is, in our churches, get out and invite these dying souls in to safety?"
It is such a little thing, such an easy thing for us to do, and the results can be incredibly wonderful and eternal.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, by the life, death and resurrection of the Savior, we have been rescued from eternal death. Now we pray for those who don't know Jesus. Send the Holy Spirit upon them, so they may be moved toward acknowledging their Lord. At the same time, move us to invite and welcome them to our church, where they might find the safety which comes in knowing the Savior. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries