Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery (ELW 334, st. 5)
5 In our call to be a blessing,
May we be a blessing true;
May we live and die confessing
Christ as Lord of all we do,
Christ as Lord of all we do.
Words and music by Marty Haugen
© 1984, GIA Publications, Inc.
Reprinted under OneLicense.net #A730924
More than 40 years ago, Gudina Tumsa, the leader of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (a graduate of Luther Seminary), was faced with a choice. At risk of being killed as a prominent critic of the brutal Marxist regime in Ethiopia at the time, the leader of the Lutheran World Federation arranged for him to escape to Tanzania. But Gudina refused: “Here is my church. How can I, as a church leader, leave my flock at this moment of trial?” He then quoted 2 Corinthians 5:15: “Christ died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” One month later, Gudina Tumsa was abducted, killed, and buried in an unmarked grave.
Now, it is unlikely that many of us will ever be faced with such a choice. Nevertheless, we are called to follow Jesus in the way of the cross; and we do so, trusting that, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). Or, as our song says, “May we live and die confessing / Christ as Lord of all we do.”
God, we thank you for the witness of the saints, including Gudina Tumsa. Grant us grace to live as your servants, knowing that whatever befalls us, in life and in death, we are yours. Amen.