Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mutual Responsibility

If you are an interested inquirer or engaged member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Chambersburg, please be aware that on Sunday, February 2 and Sunday, February 16 there will be presentations and conversation about the next steps in our journey together as the Body of Christ. Following worship on those Sunday mornings we will gather in the nave of the church to hear a review of the Leadership Retreat that was held on January 18. Everyone is welcome and indeed encouraged to come and participate in this ongoing process of discernment. This is an opportune time for us to take stock of our strengths and challenges as we consider the mission that God is already about in our midst. How are we going to be involved and engaged in what God is doing?

Below are some of the resources and scriptural passages that were considered at the Leadership Retreat last month.

The liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptism describes the faith practices that grow out of our baptism (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 236).
We are to "live among God's faithful people;
hear the word of God and share in the Lord's Supper;
proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed;
serve all people following the example of Jesus;
and strive for justice and peace in all the earth."
These five lines will provide the framework for a five-week series of Faith Formation Forums to be held on Sunday mornings, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 at 8:45 AM in the fellowship hall.

The Apostle Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth has been described as a missionary manual. Too often, we think of missionaries as only those who travel great distances to reach people with the gospel. However, missionaries are not only people we sponsor and support, missionaries are who we are here, now, where we are. As we envision together how we can join with God in the work of the Kingdom, we do well to reflect on the following passage from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21:
 16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  
18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.  
20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Look this passage up in your own bible and read it in context. How might it translate into our life together as the Body of Christ? What does it mean to consider yourself and one another as ambassadors for Christ? How does God's gift of the ministry of reconciliation clarify our common purpose?  What responsibility do we share?

Reconciliation, by Josefina de Vasconcellos, in St. Michael's Cathedral, Coventry.

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