A Different Kind of Community

A Different Kind of Community

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  1 Peter 2:9

You know the words.  “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.  And they’re always glad you came.  You want to go where people see their troubles are all the same.  You want to go where everybody knows your name.”  People long to be part of a community.  They will seek it out in all kinds of places, even those which may be harmful for them.  However, the Church can be a different kind of community, a place of healing for hurting and broken sinners.  The Church, first and foremost is a community, where people gather around Christ and His gifts.

The Reformers, Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther, emphasized that the Church’s existence is always for the sake of delivering what Christ won for us on the cross.  In the fifth article of the Augsburg Confession, we confess that the Ministry of proclaiming the Gospel and administering the sacraments is so that we might be brought to saving faith and receive the forgiveness of our sins.  In the Large Catechism, Luther writes, “We further believe that in this Christian community we have forgiveness of sins, which is given to us through the holy sacraments and absolution as well as through all the comforting passages of the entire Gospel.  Therefore everything that is to be taught concerning the sacraments, in fact all Gospel preaching and all the functions of the Christian community focus on the forgiveness of sins.  There is continuous need for this forgiveness.  For although God’s grace has been won by Christ and although the Holy Spirit effects holiness within the fellowship of the Christian church through the Word of God, yet because of our fallen nature, we are never without sin.” (LC III, Part III, 54)

Each congregation is ultimately a place where God takes a bunch of self-absorbed sinners and makes them into a community of saints as the Holy Spirit works through the Means of Grace.  As St. Peter reminds us that once we were not a people, but now we have been made into a holy nation, a community of saints.  Each week as we gather, we confess our sins and rejoice that Christ has covered over our sins and that the Holy Spirit has made us to be the holy ones of God.  This new reality is seen at the Lord’s table as the holy ones receive the holy things of God, Christ’s body and blood under the bread and wine, for the forgiveness of our sins.

May our congregations be places where hurting sinners come confessing their sins and being made holy through the Spirit’s work.  Through Christ’s atoning work and the Spirit’s sanctifying work, we are made to be a holy community, a community of saints in Christ.

Prayer – O Holy Spirit, You call, gather, enlighten and sanctify us to be a holy people in Christ Jesus, make Your Church to be a place of healing for all of those who are hurting so that we might be a community of hope through the forgiveness of sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen. 

Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan





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