Pastor's Word

Thank you to the “We Are Here” People

        Interim Pastor Jim Trutwin always ended the Sunday worship service with “Thank you for being here today.” At first, I thought that was a bit strange, but the more I ponder those closing words, the more sense they make. After all, the strength of a Christian congregation is in the people who (if they are able to attend) gather together as a church family to participate in the regular worship services. They are the “We are Here” folks who keep their church going by their offerings and participation I the life of the congregation. Without them, a particular church will not survive. .. and many churches have been closed and their ministries lost because of declining active memberships in the last two decades. Probably the trend will continue. So thank you to the “We Are Here” people.

        A Madison Avenue Church posted this on its outdoor bulletin board: “Gratitude helps us to see what is here instead of what isn’t.” So folks, we are grateful for our First Evangelical Lutheran Church and all of you who are faithful, do attend as you are able, and contribute prayers, time abilities and $$$$ to make the church alive and well and able to do worship and ministry in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

        St. Paul wrote about the “We Are Here” people: “You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. WE are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ himself. WE who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. “(Ephesians 2: 19b-21. New Living Bible Translation)

        Indeed, let us rejoice and be grateful for each and every member we can count upon for their presence and support of First Lutheran. Thank you.

        Yet, let us also be clear. Being a “We Are Here” person does not buy anyone salvation. Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace to everyone who has faith (read that as trust soley in the mercy) in Jesus Christ as Saviour. Christ alone saves us.

        Being a “We Are Here person” is a response to, and demonstration of that faith. It is a way of letting others know that we are responding to the love God has for us. And there are other ways to respond, such as practicing the Ten Commandments, the golden rule of loving others as you want them to love you. Remember Jesus admonition to the “love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.”

        Thank you for reading this message. May you be open to God’s blessings and respond to God’s love kindly. Pastor Al

P.S.  a footnote. I hope no one will read this as a judgement on the “We Are Not Here” folks. God alone is the judge of any one of us. God alone. But I write this with a prayer that more people on our church roster will become “We Are Here” folks * (if they are able) and First Evangelical Lutheran Church will become even more dynamic than it is.

 

      Pastor Al