Recently, someone asked me my goals for Grace Lutheran Church. And I had to pause for a moment, because I hadn’t articulated those goals before. As I took stock of the question, however, I came to the conclusion that my primary goal for Grace would be that we become for one another a caring community.

There is great potential in this congregation not only to become a caring community—that hope is often articulated here—but also that our caring for one another would become the value by which we are known in this community. It doesn’t take much thought about how to become a caring community, but coming into that reality is by no means easy or simple. The process is easily articulated, but the living into is the difficult and complex part. Still, that is what we are called to in our baptism and even more specifically at our confirmation as well as each time we make a reaffirmation of faith.

In the Reaffirmation of Baptism, after we profess the Apostles’ Creed, we are
asked to commit to five things:

To live among God’s people
To hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper
To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed
To serve all people, following the example of Jesus
To strive for justice and peace in all the world.

Any one of these things would take a lifetime to apprehend let alone live out. Yet regularly, without batting an eyelash, we commit to these immensely important Christian values. They are not the Christian values that the news media pick up on and banter about. Some of them may be quite controversial in their application. All of them together are powerful activities that, taken seriously, have the potential to transform our own lives, our church and even our world.

To take seriously our commitment to these easily articulated affirmations, would lead us to be a deeply caring community of faith. The implications of their essence would change us in radical and powerful ways. We would be new and different people. God would work powerfully among us. My prayer for us all is that the Spirit Who Makes Us Both Holy and Whole would lead us to live them for the sake of the
gospel and the world.