Pastor's Page

May 2018

On the back wall of the sanctuary there hangs a banner. The banner features three phrases: WITNESS, MERCY, LIFE TOGETHER. In 2010 LCMS President Matt Harrison chose these phrases to illustrate how the church lives and works together to proclaim the Gospel and to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our congregations, communities and throughout the world. Harrison wrote, In all we do, Christ is at the center leading us, sustaining us, keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change.

At the time he introduced the themes President Harrison commented on the word MERCY. He shared words once spoken by a young boy in Kenya; words spoken in response to love received at an orphanage built by LCMS World Relief and Human Care. The boy said, I thank God and Jesus Christ that someone has regarded us as human beings. Along with many other 'AIDs' orphans, that boy had been so blessed to have a new home. The word regarded caught Harrison's attention. Regarded is at the heart of the Lutheran confession of the faith, as confessed in the Augsburg Confession, Article IV on justification. It is the door to eternity. And it is also the most powerful, freeing, compelling force for a joyous life in God's mercy, driving us to act mercifully to our neighbor in need. In Christ, God regards us as human beings.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your doing, it is the gift of God. Eph 2.8 Thus we are reckoned, justified, sinless, and not guilty on account of Jesus. Faith merely grabs hold of Jesus. In Jesus God recognizes me as somebody. In fact, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. 2 Cor 5.19 There is not a living soul in this world who is not worth the very blood of Jesus. God accounts each individual as just that precious.

((Here's the bottom line)) God's solution for our sin and our deepest need in time and eternity has been to regard us as valuable as 'His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.' Thus we are set free to regard those around us in the same way – to acknowledge, to recognize, to value, to listen, to forgive, to have compassion, to speak up for, to act in mercy. Then we shall soon find them saying, 'I thank God and Jesus Christ that you have regarded me as a human being.'

SERVE THE NEEDS OF ALL PEOPLES IN CHRISTIAN LOVE
Ephesians 4.7-16; Mark 10.42-44; John 13.35; Galatians 6.10

It's about MERCY! Serve the needs of all peoples in Christian love. Martin Luther had much to say about 'Serving Others'. Life is not a selfish isolation. Finally we shall speak of those works which a man should do toward his neighbor. For a person does not live for himself alone in this mortal body; as if to work for it alone. He lives for all men on earth; in fact he lives solely for others and not for himself. For to this end he subjects his body that he may be able the more sincerely and freely to serve others as Paul says in Romans 14.7, 'For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.' Therefore (Luther writes) it is impossible that we should ever be idle in this life and without works toward our neighbor.

P.S. Congratulations and the Lord's blessings to our confirmands: Joseph Cisler, Ashley Ellis, Nick Harbison, Teagan Lorenz, Kendall Meyer, Caidy Tuetken, Kate Wineburner

Pastor Kelly Mitteis
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