A few weeks ago a woman wandered into our church looking for one thing – community. It is sad but it is true. We are surrounded by people, but we are looking for more than just people. We are looking for a place of acceptance and understanding. If Christ the Lord Lutheran Church is no more than this. It is plenty. It is a place of hope and purpose in Christ Jesus.
When I was at my internship church, St. John’s Lutheran in Atlanta, for their 150 anniversary and we were sharing memories and stories over the last 50 years with past pastors, interns, and staff, there was a common thread that ran through our thoughts. St. John’s was a place that had a place for everyone.
Being a place of complete acceptance can be hard in this day and time. We are tempted to just gather with like- minded people. It is less awkward and more peaceful. But that isn’t okay if you are a church.
The church is a gathering place of broken spirits and failed attempts at knowing the answers to life. It’s a last ditch effort at finding unconditional love. And if all we were was a gathering of people we would just be another failed attempt. But we are not.
The church is a place where people gather around an altar that offers mercy and forgiveness. No one sits in the sanctuary that does not have a need or a prayer to lift up to God. Our acceptance is not based upon how we dress or that language we speak. We are not filtered by the degrees of higher learning we have. There isn’t an age limit or pre existing condition health scan. We are all looking for community.
The community we share is a community of Christ. Not all questions are answered and sometimes we don’t even know where to start and what to ask. Questions about life are acceptable and possible solutions to questions are welcomed. Community is being vulnerable with each other and helpful if we can. Community begins with humility.
Prayers of all types are acceptable, even laments that are prayed in the Psalm, prayers of all lost hope, which are welcome too. We lay it all at the altar together and seek help and solace in the ragged, crucified Lord who comes down beside us and crying out alongside us then takes our pains upon himself and destroys it in his death and resurrection.
We are a community of death and resurrection and therefore a place of hope. Hope is Christ Jesus.
On November 17, we will celebrate at worship this great community together. We will eat together at the Lord’s Table, in the fellowship hall, and through our gifts of food with the hungry around us. We will pledge ourselves to each other and God as we make financial commitments to each other and God as we make financial commitments to the church. We will praise God for bringing us to this place and feeding us and allowing us to be part of his great kingdom of God, a place without end.
See you there, Pastor Mitchell