"Here I stand, stand with me!'
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
I try very hard to be very inclusive of all religions and faiths when I write, but today I wanted to share from my own tradition of Evangelical Lutheranism with a thought or two about the example of St. Paul, Martin Luther, and their struggles to persevere in the face of sadness and death.
The second letter of St. Paul to his friend and partner in ministry, Timothy, is Paul’s “dying shout of triumph” as he awaited beheading in prison in Rome. Emperor Nero was soon to put Paul to death as he did with St. Peter. In his final words to the churches he planted in verses 3-14, Paul gives a clear exhortation to “not be ashamed,” “keep the pattern of sound teaching,” and “guard the good deposit.” These are clear calls to continue the same kind of work he had been doing in his ministry.
To all of you, read these verses. They aren’t written just for Timothy and the past, but rather for us today.
Martin Luther stood before the Emperor and the whole power of the established church, not to start a new church or leave the church, but rather to change the church. His life and family were threatened, his ministry revoked, his words twisted, and his honor was tarnished. Yet Luther responded to the calls to renounce what he believed and recanted his preaching with, “…my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." (Diet of Worms, 1521)
Both these men were facing a lot in the midst of their lives: pain, sadness, agony, and death for what they believed in. They sought to make right the power of the day in the known world, just as we seek to do what ir right for all people in Wisconsin. In the course of this campaign we may feel a lot of these same pressures. There are 68 days left in this race. 68 days to press on, to “not be ashamed,” to say to our friends and our families, “Here I stand, stand with me!” What a request to ask of our friends and family! It takes boldness and perserverance, but we must make it.
We have 68 days to live in the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline—the same spirit that can and will bring us to where God is calling us to!