Every Sunday the liturgy reminds me that Christian service to our neighbors is the continuation of our worship of God.
In worship we acknowledge that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We boldly come before God confessing “that we sin every day in thought, word, and deed” – by the things we do and say, and by the things we do not do and say. Then comes God’s amazing answer: “Because Jesus died for you, I forgive you all of your sins.” God declares us righteous because of Jesus, not because of any efforts we may or may not do. So, with the slate wiped perfectly clean, we are free to respond to others the way God responds to us – loving them fully and freely, even though they have done nothing to deserve it. We go from worship empowered to care for the young, the elderly, the lonely, the broken, and the bereaved – family, friends, and strangers. GRACE CHANGES EVERYTHING!
In worship we hear a few different examples of God’s undeserved love and favorfrom the Bible every Sunday – from the times of freedom and times of suffering. God chose and blessed Abraham and Sarah, though they did nothing to deserve it. God freed the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt and led them to the promised land, even though they were a rebellious and “stiff necked” people. God liberated St. Paul from his terrorism against the followers of Jesus, to welcome and love all people – without regard to their
nationality. And, Jesus never abandoned his first disciples, even though they were often looking out only for their own well being. GRACE CHANGES EVERYTHING!
In the Eucharistic Prayer we are reminded that God is our Bread and has given us “a world in which all might be satisfied by your abundance” – pure grace. We hearJesus giving thanks to God even as he was to be betrayed and crucified. Then, we pray that God will nurture and sustain usthat we will continue the work of Jesus did for us freely, without our deserving any of it by “serving all in hunger and want” freely and without deserving any of it. Then, having received Christ’s body and blood – freely and without deserving – we pray: “Equip us for every good work, that we may continue to give you thanks by embracing others with mercy and healing.” GRACE CHANGES
EVERYTHING! Go in peace. Remember the poor.
— Roger Berner, Pastor