Continual Trust for a Continual, Mutual Commitment

On the afternoon of May 3rd when Wendell and I were installed as your pastors, we were blessed to be surrounded by so many of you, by members of Grace, by family, by friends, by staff and by pastoral colleagues. The worship service was punctuated with pomp, procession, powerful proclamation, prayers and music. It brought us together again, for the 3rd time that day, around the sustaining sacrament of Holy Communion. At the core of the service were public promises that we made to one another as pastors and people.

Revisiting these promises from time to time might be a helpful exercise in re-claiming the core of what it is that we need and expect of one another. As we all go about the many tasks of ministry in this place, as we are pulled in many directions, and as we sometimes experience doubts and fatigue, we might pause to reflect and remember. We remember that, as pastors, we were asked, “Will you love, serve and pray for God’s people? Will you nourish them with the Word and Holy Sacraments, leading them by your own example in the use of the means of grace, in faithful service and holy living? Our individual response was, “I will, and I ask God to help me.”

We remember that you, as people of God, were asked in regards to your relationship with us, “Will you pray for them, help and honor them for their works’ sake, and in all things strive to live together in the peace and unity of Christ?” Your corporate response was, “We will.” At the time it was not followed by “and we ask God to help us,” but I think this would be a wise addition.

It is only with God’s help that we can adequately fulfill our commitment to one another. This is continual trust. We need to remember and call upon such trust again and again. My past experience has been that God is faithful in helping us carry out such public commitments.

God is about the business of blessing our relationship with one another, the relationship of Grace Lutheran with all whom it is called upon to serve. God is the source of providing for all that is needed and all which comes from our relationship. This leads to continual, mutual commitment.

The fruits of this commitment are love, service, and prayer. They build upon one another and are interdependent. One without the others is inadequate. Love is expressed through service and prayer. Service is sustained by love and prayer. Prayer is directed by love and service.

We, too, are interdependent as pastors and people – not dependent, not codependent, but interdependent – as we follow Christ into our community and world manifesting with caring hearts and helping hands the good news of the Kingdom of God. Our continual trust in God and continual, mutual commitment to one another leads us toward the vision to be a Christ centered community who welcomes all, grows in faith, and reaches out in love. Will we do this? Will we be this? We will, and we ask God to help us!