Catechesis Notes for the week: We live in a very hostile and violent world. We cannot watch the news on television or read a newspaper without realizing the animosity and hatred which many show for one another. Sometimes it is based on what a particular person has done or said; other times it may be based on a person being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus warns us in Scripture that we will endure persecution for the sake of the Gospel. But He does not tell us to invite it. How do we strike the middle ground between asking for persecution and running from it? How do we respond to it? We confess in the creed that (as Luther explains) God “defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.” Yet we have been hurt and know others who have. This obviously does not mean that we will never suffer the slightest injury (or else it is proven wrong). We also know that (Psalm 31:15) our times are in His hand. So what do we do about the persecution which Jesus said we will face? When Jesus said to turn the other cheek, did He mean that we should never try to defend ourselves? When in Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples not to attack with swords lest they perish by the sword. But this was the time when Jesus knew He must be taken before the authorities in order that He might suffer and die for the sins of the world. Jesus does not tell us to avoid every form of persecution, but He instructs us to stand against those who teach contrary to His Word. Will we get hurt? It is likely. But nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord, not even death! So let us obediently follow Him who gave His life for us.