Our Lord Jesus taught with familiar narratives. St. Paul the Apostle insisted, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). Dr. Martin Luther the Reformer translated both the Scriptures and the worship liturgy into the congregation’s native tongue. Almighty God does not require us to ascend to heaven and learn His language. He brings Himself near and makes Himself known on our level. He incarnates among us.
Popular culture does not always affirm life. This society has its own songs and stories, vocabulary and rhetoric. It engages in common rituals and symbols, habits and outfits. And these more frequently give voice to the devil, the world, and our sinful nature than they do to the Law and the Gospel of God. Often it frustrates us in our efforts to speak the truth in love so that the message is heard and understood.
However, culture also offers opportunities. Our Savior reigns over—and redeems—all creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).
Christians also communicate in songs and stories, rituals and symbols. We can interact with the minds and hearts of our neighbors on these familiar levels. We know their language, and we have artists and authors who can ensure the medium does not diminish the message. And this issue of LifeDate has some wonderful examples!