At last check, the clock was still ticking toward a government shutdown, but that could change by the time I finish writing this, or even by the time you finish reading it.
Now what I am about to write some may consider heresy, but I will say it any way: life will continue if the government shuts down. People will be inconvenienced by the fact that the Smithsonian Institute is closed during their vacation to Washington, someone will be sad that the National Zoo is closed for the weekend, some scientists will be furloughed for a couple of days, but it will all reopen and people will be back to work in a few days.
The government shut down will of course not open the doors of any prisons allowing the prisoners to wander free; the military will continue its pursuit of terrorists around the world; the US/Mexico border will still be patrolled; Social Security checks will continue to be sent out.
So in the end, life will continue. Yes people will be inconvenienced, but it will be momentarily. The shutdown will in fact, not affect the lives of so many people, that many of us will openly question, if only for a few days, why the government employs so many people who are determined to be non-essential? FoxNews estimated that as many as 800,000 people employed by the government will be determined as non-essential during the shutdown.
But let’s face it, very few people will notice the government shutdown, at least for the first few days and weeks. The longer the shutdown, the more of us will be affected, but estimates are that they shutdown will be very short, so few will notice the effects at all.
One thing that will not be affected by the shutdown will be the church. Regardless of how the government is funded for the rest of the year, churches will open their doors on Sunday morning, where the Word of God will be preached and the Sacraments will be administered.
And yet, surprisingly few people will notice what the church does on Sunday morning. Sadly, while many will remark of a government shutdown that will affect a small percentage of the population, a small percentage of the population will notice that the church is opened on Sunday morning in an effort to reach a large percentage of the population.
Sadly, many today have placed their trust in a government that while it provides much, does not provide salvation. The government provides protection for us, it offers many services to our benefit, and yet there are many times like today, when it could all come to a sudden halt. And indeed one day, as with all governments, this one too shall fall. We pray it does not, but we know in a sinful world, governments rise and fall.
And yet in the church, we encounter our Lord who is always present with His Word and Sacraments. The Lord provides out of His bountiful goodness for our every need, knowing that the gifts of God will never run out or be shutdown.
This weekend, many will find that their trust in the government has been wrongly placed. Let us pray that many might go to the House of the Lord where they will find the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; a God whom we can place our trust for every need of body and soul.
The parks and museums might not be opened, but the Word and the Sacraments will be available regardless. Will you notice?