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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (October 2013)

posted Oct 1, 2013, 10:48 AM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel

Last year, the congregations of our parish voted to adopt a Purpose Statement and Guiding Principles to define our joint ministry.  These items were developed after members of the parish gathered together, studied Scripture, prayed, and reflected upon what it means to be Christ’s Church in this world.  This Purpose Statement and Guiding Principles have been displayed in our congregations for over the past year.  They will remain there to remind us how we should live out our calling as God’s people.  It is my hope that all of us memorize these items and live them out in our daily lives.

God’s purpose for our church is to be an example of our loving, forgiving, and welcoming Savior, Jesus Christ.”  Jesus Christ taught us to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Matt. 7:12) and to “love one another as he first loved us” (John 13:34).  Jesus taught us that we should forgive “seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22), he forgave the crowds as he was hanging from the cross (Luke 23:34), and even forgave one of the criminals crucified beside him (Luke 23:43).  He “welcomed sinners and ate with them” (Luke 15:2), conversed with outcasts of his society (John 4:9), and wasn’t afraid to touch people to cure them of their illnesses (Luke 5:13).  There are countless stories of how Jesus loved, forgave, and welcomed all God’s beloved children.  We, too, are called to imitate the love, forgiveness, and hospitality of Jesus with all people we encounter and to whom we minister.  We live out this purpose through the concrete ways listed below.

  1. Proclaiming the Word of God that Jesus is Savior and Lord: Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, he appeared to his disciples to give final instructions.  In Matthew, he told his disciples to “Go, make disciples, baptize and teach.”  In Luke, he told his disciples that they would proclaim his work and that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed to all nations.”  We are called to share the Word of God that Jesus Christ died and was raised for our sakes so that we might receive life, forgiveness, and salvation.  We are to proclaim this message to all people in all parts of the world.
  2. Invite and accept with joy all people as God’s children: As I stated above, Jesus was accused of “welcoming sinners and eating with them.”  Jesus welcomed, taught, and ate with all sorts of people – rich and poor, “righteous and sinful,” healthy and sick, learned and uneducated.  He felt that all people were in need to feel the acceptance and love of God in their lives.  We are called to invite and accept all people God calls into the kingdom.  And we are to do this with JOY.  As Christ says in Luke 15, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.”
  3. Be servants to all, especially the hungry, homeless, sick, forsaken, and the stranger: Jesus Christ was concerned with the last, little, least, and lost of this world.  Mary’s song from Luke chapter one sums up how God would use even his lowliest of servants to serve and lift up people.  Jesus himself was called “not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).  We are called to serve all people of this world, especially those who are in the greatest need of our love and care.
  4. To act as good caretakers of all that God has entrusted to us: Nothing we have is truly ours – it was given to us by God.  We have been entrusted to care for the things we have been given.  We act as good caretakers by blessing others with the blessings we have first been given.  By doing this, we store up and place our hearts in the treasures in heaven (Luke 12:33-34).
  5. To pray for all people, to give thanks to God at all times, and to worship together as a community of faith: Jesus placed himself in God’s presence to pray about his vocation and God’s people (Mark 1:35; Matt. 11:25-26; Luke 22:41-44).  We are called to pray and lift up petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people (1 Timothy 2:1).  We are called to join together to praise God and thank God for his gracious acts (Acts 2:46-47).  These are visible expressions of our faith and commitment towards one another.  

Please take the time to reflect and pray over this purpose and guiding principles! 

In Christ ~ Pastor Maureen