Meme ministry

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Not too long ago I learned what a “meme” is. It’s pronounced “meem” and it’s defined as an interest-grabbing graphic or picture sent on cell phones that has a humorous or poignant message. Many of them are absolutely silly or make an observation of our culture in rather sharp terms.

However, there are also memes that convey messages about important parts of our lives such as our faith-lives. Forty years ago these would have been posters that we put up in our dorm rooms or on our apartment walls.

My family likes to share these modern “poster/memes” as we text each other at various times during the day. It’s a great way to share our faith and be “in ministry” to one another. I want to share one of them with you here.

I can’t show you the picture on the meme my one daughter sent out to the family recently, but I can share the message, and that’s the most important part.

The words were a verse of Scripture that I believe would be a seldom referenced verse, but they bring a wonderful message to us all.

“The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

My daughter commented that this made her think of all the movies with warriors and soldiers lined up in battle-ready ranks and files to provide vital protection or valiant charges to accomplish the mission to full success.

Like those warriors, God is our mighty warrior, strong and active for us to save us from the curse of our sin and from the despair of what befalls us in our fallen sinful world.

I’ve written so often in the pandemic about all the problems that have been “attacking” us in this most unusual time. These attacks include everything from the Covid-19 virus itself causing acute sickness and even death, to the destructive results of job losses and economic hardships, to the stress and strain caused by the unknowns of school openings, to the general assault on our culture and society as we had known it. And that really only scratches the surface, doesn’t it?

The attacks of life that have nothing to do with the pandemic continue as well, don’t they? These include broken relationships, health problems, the loss of loved ones, on-going personal problems, and all the assaults of evil trying to bring havoc to our lives and world.

So what is the answer? How are we and can we withstand these profound attacks? Usually the answer comes with admonitions to “get tough, rise up, and do your best.” But what do we truly know? Left to ourselves, we would fail and fail miserably.

Oh yes, we have God-given talents and resources which God wants us to employ. But ultimately we are still vulnerable to these attacks of life and cannot win the battles on our own. We need help. And we have it. We have the one sure defense that can save us, and that is God, who has declared and promised to be The Unconquerable Warrior for us who trust in Him.

That is such good news for everyone at all times, but it is particularly good news for us when we are not feeling strong and brave and courageous. It is particularly good news when we are feeling weak and vulnerable and about to cave in to the enemies attacking us, whatever they may be. That is when we breathe that great sigh of relief that our Great Warrior is strong for us. Whew!

Thanks, “Meme.” What a great ministry. Amen!

[Kollmeyer is Pastor Emeritus at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville and Interim Pastor at Word of God Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg.]