For the Sake of...
By Rev. Megan Morrow, Assistant to the Bishop
- A building, a congregation in one place, a congregation with multiple campuses, an online or electronic media ministry, a denomination here in the U.S. or one in another country, or one that stretches around the world, all Christians everywhere, etc.
We’ve explored that question a lot over the last three years in the Nebraska Synod with our yearly themes on Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s emphases: We are Church, We are Lutheran, We are Church Together. Though we might have differing opinions on many things, these are things that are at the core of our identity in the ELCA and the Nebraska Synod:
1) We are the Body of Christ, Christ’s Body (Church),
2) We are called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified by the Spirit around Word & Sacrament, fed, forgiven, and freed by God’s grace through being joined to Christ’s death and resurrection in Baptism, and in Christ’s own Body and Blood given and shed (Lutheran), and
3) We are part of Christ’s Body, the Church, Together with people in our congregations, with other congregations across the Synod, throughout the ELCA, with Lutheran denominations worldwide, but also with our siblings in Christ in other denominations in the whole Christian Church around the world!
This year we’re focusing on the 4th emphasis: We are Church for the Sake of the World. Based on what we’ve learned so far, you could flesh that out as “We are the Body of Christ (Church), wearing Lutheran glasses (Grace, Word & Sacrament), walking in partnership, Together with each other and the whole Christian Church (Ecumenical), for the Sake of the World.”
So, what’s Church for? Better yet, WHO is Church for? At our recent theological conference in Kearney, TheoCon 2019, Rev. Dr. Mercedes Garcia Bachmann, an Old Testament scholar of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina/Uruguay, one of our Companion Synods, pointed us to the words, “for the sake of.” She helped us ponder stories throughout scripture looking at examples of what happens when people of faith made choices “for the sake of” themselves vs “for the sake of” God, the earth, and others.
God continually calls us to look beyond ourselves, to love and to live our lives “for the sake of” the world that God created and loves so deeply, and for whom God sent God’s only Son. You are part of that world. You are loved that you might love.
So, WHO is your church for? WHO is St. Someone Lutheran Church of Some Place Nebraska for? Who is the world in your corner of it, around the state, the country, the globe? How are you now the Body of Christ, wearing Lutheran glasses, walking in partnership, Together with others, for the Sake of the World? How is God calling you to be Church for the Sake of the World?
Blessings as you ponder that call!