My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
The Mark IV was a Lincoln Continental vehicle sold by Ford Motor Company during the years 1972 and 1976. Sleek, shiny and big, the Lincoln Mark IV could never be confused with the Mark IV made by the U.S. Government from 1949 to 1953.
The difference is obvious: the Ford Mark IV looks like an automobile and the Government Mark IV, being silver and shaped like a very, very large egg with fins, looks like, well, it looks for all the world like a nuclear bomb on steroids, which is what it is.
Of course, people don't see Mark IVs today. The cars have mostly been scrapped and the bombs have been dismantled and their plutonium core recycled ... except for that one Mark IV bomb that was dumped off the coast of British Columbia in 1950. The 11,000 pound bomb was jettisoned before the B-36 plane carrying it crashed into the sea.
And that was the last anyone saw of the Mark IV, at least, until recently.
Recently, while searching for sea cucumbers, Sean Smyrichinsky spotted a large, silver object.
"Could be a space ship" is what he told his pals.
When he told his story to some old fishermen, one commented, "Or you may have found that bomb."
Over the years I have lost many things.
I have repeatedly lost my glasses, my hearing-aid, and my car keys. At a Renaissance festival I lost our younger daughter and, in Michigan, Pam and I misplaced our son for half an hour. With an embarrassing lack of direction, I have to confess I have repeatedly misplaced myself.
But I have never lost a Mark IV.
Now maybe it has occurred to you, even as it has struck me: high on the list of things a person might not want to lose is a Mark IV nuclear weapon. The only thing I can think of that would be worse than losing a Mark IV nuclear weapon is losing my forgiveness, my faith, and my Savior.
In his epistle, James addressed exactly that problem. And then he gave the solution. He said, "If we spot a brother or sister wandering away, we should do our best to bring them back." That is one of the purposes for belonging to a congregation. There we have a spiritual family which is concerned about us. They care enough about where we are going to spend eternity that they actually go after us and remind us of the love and grace we have received from God's Son, our sinless Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the devil is wise and works patiently to rob us of our faith. Frustrate him and bless us so that we never lose the gift of forgiveness and salvation which comes to us in the Person of our Savior, Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
P.S. - Our government is pretty sure that, even though the lost Mark IV is loaded with TNT, the nuclear core was taken out and replaced with lead. They're pretty sure. The Canadian Navy is investigating.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries