Montana

Sleeping Under the Cross - Psalm 4:8

Thursday February 18

Sleeping Under the Cross - Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

 

The world we live in is a dangerous place.  There are all kinds of troubles and threats around us every day.  In the backcountry of the Crow Indian Reservation, there are the typical wilderness dangers: rattlesnakes, spiders, coyotes, bears, bobcats, mountain lions, burning sun and thirst, and bitter cold.  There are also unseen entities that dwell on certain hill tops and wooded areas.  Because of all this, few of the people venture out there alone, and rarely overnight.

However, there is a man who loves his solitary time out there – “Just me, God, and the coyotes,” as he puts it.  He is much at peace there and sleeps well, staying out four or five nights at a time.

He finds such peace because the Lord has placed a firm reminder of His love and protection in the sky – the Northern Cross.  Every night of almost every month, the Cross is visible somewhere in the sky.  The Father’s night light shines down a steady reminder of His forgiveness and peace in Christ.  Living under the cross of Christ, what danger can really harm us?

The Apostle Paul asked a similar question when he wrote to the Christians in Rome.  He concluded that nothing in all creation could separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  As a shepherd and a warrior who slept in the open, David knew this truth as well, which led him to compose Psalm 4.

Lent brings us to the cross of Christ. Here is our safety and shelter even on the darkest, scariest nights of our lives.  And if you ever forget that, simply look up.  The Cross still shines down with the Father’s peace and safety.

Thank you, dear Father, for Your steadfast love and forgiveness, mercy and protection in Christ.  Thank you for the Northern Cross that shines by night to remind us of Your faithfulness even when life is dark and we feel all alone.  Help us always to fix our eyes upon Christ’s cross so we may sleep and wake in Your peace, our only real safety. 
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Rev. Dan Jacobs - Crow Agency, Montana

Luke 15:3-7 - He Came for Each One

He Came for Each One

"... Jesus told them this parable, 'Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. ... I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:3-7, NIV)

This is not a Pentecost ministry here on the Crow Indian Reservation. People are not saved by the thousands or hundreds. They aren’t even saved by the tens. Out here, the Lord finds and gathers the lost one or two at a time. In 2014, there were two baptisms for which we praise God.

In Luke, Jesus points out that He’s not in a numbers game. He tells a story of losing one sheep from a flock of a hundred. A shepherd loves all his sheep, even the unruly ones, the ones who just wander off and the ones too slow to stay with the flock. So, Jesus goes searching for the lost one because of love, saying, “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.”

Now, finding a lost sheep is not much different than finding a lost sinner. Neither one comes when you call. They get stuck in hopeless holes. They try to hide, but they are in grave danger because death stalks them. Once found, the lost one doesn’t jump up and follow the shepherd home. Oh no, he’s far too weak and exhausted. Being lost drains both a sheep and a human.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus knew the only way to carry a lost sinner home is by a cross. Yes, on that cross, which we easily overlook in Advent, Jesus shouldered lost sinners home. One of those was a criminal on a cross next to His. The road home led through pain and blood and shame and hell and death. Yet, it led through an open tomb into eternal life.

Even if you were the only person in all of history who was a lost sinner, the Shepherd would have come to find and save you. He shouldered you to carry you home by His cross and empty tomb. Yes, Jesus welcomes sinners, so He came to seek and to save that which was lost—each and every one of us.

Dear Father, thank You for the abundance of Your love by which You sent Your Son to come to find and save me, a lost sinner. Please fill me with Your love for the lost so I may be a useful tool for welcoming sinners into the joy of heaven. Amen.

- Rev. Dan Jacobs, Crow Agency, Montana

Montana/Crow Agency is Associate Ministry of Lutheran Indian Ministries. Visit our Locations and Staff page to learn more about our other Associate Ministry locations along with all of our staff and where they serve.