September Pastor’s Pen—Can We Envision?
One Sabbath day Jesus was invited to read the Scriptures at a local synagogue. He was handed the scroll of the prophet, Isaiah. He unrolled it and found the passage that he wanted to read. Luke recorded what Jesus read in chapter 4 of his gospel: “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the op- pressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus then told those who were gathered that day that what he had just read was fulfilled in their hearing. That is, Jesus, himself, was the living fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He was the anointed one, and his ministry was the actual fulfillment of God’s word spoken so long ago by the prophet Isaiah. As Jesus embodied the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in his day, we who follow Jesus, are called to be the embodiment of the Gospels and New Testament scriptures today. So how do we live out the Good News of the risen Christ?
While in China, I read a book titled, “A Field Guide for the Missional Church: Embarking on a Journey of Transformation”, by Rick Rouse and Craig Van Gelder. It was both challenging and exciting reading. One of the shifts that Rouse suggests the church must make is the shift from focusing on growing itself, to becoming the yeast for transforming communities. The truth is, there is no wiggle room to soft peddle the Gospels. The Call to go out and share the Good News, to heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, feed the hungry, and care for the widow and orphan is an unambiguous calling; if we are going to follow Christ, then our ministry will have to go out beyond the four walls of our sanctuary. Of course, our ministry must be anchored in authentic worship, and study. We’ll be no good for anybody if we are not grounded in a faithful understanding of our Christian scriptures.
As disciples of Jesus at First Lutheran Church, we are God’s chosen instrument to bring light to a dim world. Can we envision God seeking to transform this community through our faithful ministry? It seems to me this is what God is about, and surely God has the power to do it! Our job is simply to be faithful. As we launch into September and the coming Fall, can we envision our church having a transforming inﬂuence on this community? God will provide the power. Many of us will supply the feet and hands, and all of us can listen for God’s urgings.
Where is God leading us? As your pastor, I believe God is calling us to find ways to bring the Good News to a wider community. So let us be in prayer, always asking God to show us the way. We have much to learn, and with God’s grace, much to gain for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Grace and Peace,