August 16, 2012
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
During World War II it must have been difficult to be an American citizen with the name William Patrick Hitler.
It must have been doubly difficult if you were the only nephew and the only known descendant of the chancellor of Nazi Germany. (Note: Adolf Hitler had a son whose story has recently become public.)
And, if you wished to enlist and fight against Germany, you first had to get the president's permission, and pass an investigation by the FBI.
That is, of course, what happened to William Patrick Hitler. He had come to America in 1939 and in 1942 asked Franklin D. Roosevelt's permission to enlist. When the government's blessing was received, he joined the Navy in 1944 and served for years before he was injured.
William Patrick Hitler took a stand for that in which he believed. He stood firm in his faith; he acted like a man and did what he did out of love for his country and his friends.
His is quite an example for Christians, isn't it?
You know, once upon a time you and I were part of an evil Reich that was dedicated to the enslavement of the entire world. But then something happened.
By God's design we came into contact with the freedom that could be ours in God's Kingdom of grace. Through Word and Sacrament we were made citizens of this Kingdom, which had been brought into being by God's promise and the Savior's sacrifice.
As members in that Kingdom we rejoice that the final, ultimate victory has already been won by the risen Savior. Still, skirmishes and scuffles, conflicts and combat continue on. And we are given a choice. We can volunteer to fight with our comrades in Christ, or we can try to blend into the background as a noncombatant.
I know what William Patrick Hitler did. I pray we might be as brave and committed to the cause of the Christ.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I rejoice I have been moved from the kingdom of darkness to that of light. May I appreciate the sacrifice of the Savior which made that move possible. Now, as I am able, use me to take a stand for Him who died for me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries