Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I watched a news program last night where the focus and attention of the guest on the show were these words. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” I am quite sure you are very familiar with the preamble to the Constitution. This document has given us the direction and the framework allowing our nation to grow. It has also nurtured the winds of freedom throughout the world and been a beacon of hope to all who seek freedom.
Just a few weeks ago we heard - “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each” [Acts 2:1-6, NRSV].
Similar to the founding of our country and the document that transformed 13 colonies and has been an integral part of the transformation of the world since; the Day of Pentecost transformed the limited number of believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the long awaited for Messiah, into the church universal. The wind blew first through the 12 and then the many. The promised Advocate had come. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, continues to blow through the church, ever directing God’s people in the mission of the church. I thought it might be a good idea to share the work of the church with you and remind you that each of us plays a role in proclaiming the Gospel and helping to bring the Kingdom of God to those around us and around the world. The following is an adaptation of the ELCA’s statement on the mission of the church.
The mission of the church is the proclamation of God’s love for the world that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness, redemption and sanctification received through reconciliation with God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier of all. The church is called to action in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission to proclaim God’s love to a hurting world and to baptize in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The church is to respond to God’s love by loving neighbor, in meeting human need, advocating for justice and dignity for all people, seeking peace and reconciliation between nations and standing in unity with the poor and powerless. The church is to provide for worship in the proclamation of the Word and the administering of the Sacraments and to be a witness and bear witness to Christ, through lives of thanksgiving, service and prayer. The church is to provide for the nurturing of faith that brings growth to lives of daily Christian living and use of gifts. In this, faith, hope and love increase; therefore, faith and gifts are used for the sake of the world. The church is to live together in the unity the Spirit gives it and to express in prayer and action Christ’s love in the world. The church is to provide good structure and leadership, publications and other materials for the education of its members and the growth of faith within them. The church is to work across denominational lines and country borders to care for all humanity and to care for creation as we await the fullness of the Kingdom of God.
This work of the church through and in the Holy Spirit, involves each of us. For it is, “We the people,” who are the church. The work of the church in the Holy Spirit calls each of us to share our gifts, talents and resources for the benefit of proclaiming the Gospel in various ways.
As the church continues to listen for the Holy Spirit ever in movement among believers, transformation does and will continue to blow across our congregations, communities and the nations of the world. What will be our contribution as the church universal? What is the Spirit asking of you in the congregation and in the community? Brothers and sisters, the wind is blowing and we are the people!
Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know??? We started Wednesday movies at ASLC during Holy Week in April. The movie night is now a monthly gathering at ASLC showing family friendly movies that speak to your faith or simply provide joyful entertainment. Our next movie will be “Joyful Noiise” @ 6:30 p.m. on July 10. Bring a friend or neighbor and come join in the fellowship.
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ??? “One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.”