Re-runs

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

Re-runs. It is summer, and that is the majority of prime-time television. Episodes of programs that aired earlier this year – or even in previous years – are the staple of summer TV.

So what is the problem with reruns? You already know what will happen. They are predictable. The outcome will not change. Hannah Montana’s zany antics with Lily will turn out fine and her identity will remain hidden. Drake and Josh will get over their anger and frustration, and everything will turn out fine in their home. The Brady Bunch will get through their problem and Mom and Dad will restore peace within the 30-minute episode. And every time you view a given episode, it will conclude the same way. It does not change.

Our Old Adams are a lot like re-runs. Daily, we fall into many of the same temptations and often, we fall back into the same sins. We can almost look like re-runs in the choices we make (again and again) as we give in to the devil, the world, and our sinful selves.

The difference is, however, that our loving Savior does not grow tired of the re-run. You and I may not be able to stand one more half hour of a certain episode. (Although, thanks to my “tween” son there are some Zack and Cody’s that I can soon quote verbatim!) Okay, and I can remember various Gilligan’s Island or Brady Bunch plots that I must have seen a hundred times. Still, most times we can bore pretty easily.

Yet Jesus does not grow bored with us. He knows us and knows the sit-com re-run patterns into which we fall. He knew it before He gave His life on the cross, and still chose to save us! Our loving Lord reached out that we may not be stuck in our sin, locked into the bad that we would choose.

Instead, He has redeemed us, lost and condemned persons, purchased and won us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. Yes, we are still helpless to pull ourselves out of the re-runs of sin, but the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith.

Does that mean we just go on carelessly re-running our sins, since He re-runs His Gospel and forgiveness? Of course not! We abide in forgiveness, striving to live in faith toward God and in love toward neighbor. But for the many times we fall back into the re-runs of sin, we do not despair.

The Lord does not want you stuck in bad re-runs. So He makes you new. The New Creature from Baptism is given by God, emerging daily from the drowning of Old Adam. Our Redeemer raises you to new life, rescuing you from the eternal stain of re-run sin. “We were therefore buried with Him through Baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4, quoted in the Small Catechism, Baptism, Section 4.)

As you scan the summer TV Guides, and see nothing but re-runs, pause and give thanks to God. Praise our Lord who has rescued you from your re-runs of sin, and restores you as His cleansed child! “Behold, I make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5 NKJV.) Amen.

Rev. Richard Heinz is Pastor of St. John's Ev. Lutheran Church in Lanesville, IN. He works with Higher Things Internet Services, serving as editor of the Front Page.

Created: July 27th, 2008