Feast of John the Baptist

Text: Ecclesiastes 3:9-17

Prayer Pointers:

For confidence in God

For those we consider our enemies

For all who desire justice

IN a sermon published in the book Come, Holy Spirit, Karl Barth, in preaching on this text said:

[what] do we mean by this word? Eternity is not time…not a vast sum of all times, nor the so-called new, better time after that, after the passing of all bad times, will finally come to be. Eternity is eternity…separated from time by a gulf that once for all divides the two. This gulf can never be bridged by progress and development.

Barth was speaking to a congregation that had a terrible war in the rear-view mirror (World War I), a terrible peace surrounding them (the Bolsheviks, the Weimar Republic, the Depression) and an uncertain future before them. “Progress” was the word on everyone’s lips, but the sad truth was that every notion of progress had within it the thread of human triumph, of human ingenuity and righteous purity and strength that would, in a few short years, unleash a yet more terrible time.

The details of our days may be different than 1922, but we are still enthralled with the notion that our ingenuity and our purity and our strength—our might—will carry the day, destroy our enemies and ensure Progress, the realization of that “new, better time.” But as the Lutheran Confessions note, it is a grave error to think that, before the coming of Christ, that the righteous shall take possession of the world, the unrighteous and evil having been suppressed everywhere (Augsburg Confession 17:5).

Only God can make eternity possible, and Christians “progress” only by faithfulness to the way of Jesus Christ, where God’s foolishness is greater than our ingenuity; our purity is borrowed; our strength is found in weakness, and we only destroy our enemies by befriending and loving them.

May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks


Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

824 N. Buchanan Blvd. 

Durham, NC 27701

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824 North Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701 | 919-682-6030  |

Mission Statement: We are called to Welcome Everyone to Walk the Way of GRACE, and walk in that way in our individual lives, in our shared life in our various communities, in our common life with our neighbors, and even to the world at large as God sends us. The Way of Grace is to: GROW with Jesus, REJOICE in God, ANSWER with hope, CARE for the neighbor, and EMBRACE community.

Vision Statement: God has a plan FOR OUR LIVES, and so we teach how to walk in the path of Jesus Christ; FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, and so we work to build healthy and strong communities; FOR OUR CITY, and so we share life with our neighbors in Walltown, Trinity Park, Duke, and the Triangle; and FOR OUR WORLD, and so we go with Good News.

Core Values: Because God loves us first, we value worship rooted in Scripture and Sacraments, service to all people, and being a welcoming community that loves and forgives one another.