September 3, 2020
for Sunday, Sept. 3
Sundays and Seasons
Called to Community
Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20). In these Sundays after Pentecost, we are repeatedly reminded that God has not abandoned us and that Christ’s resurrection and ascension are a beginning for us, not an end. The readings this week focus on the practical work of the gathered Christian community: turning from sin to repentance, from conflict to reconciliation. The question is as relevant today as it was for the disciples and the first Christians: how do we live together, work together, as the body of Christ? We have been saved by grace, liberated by God’s love to love one another. What does it mean for us and for our community to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) and to clothe ourselves in love?
We keep asking these questions because the way we gather as Christians continues to be profoundly countercultural. We do not gather as a social club, drawn and kept together only by shared demographics and interests. If church is only a social club, there is no reason to continue to gather if conflict arises, if uncomfortable issues are raised, or if “the way it’s always been” begins to change. If church is only a social club, there is no reason to do the hard work of reconciliation and forgiveness.
God calls us into community knowing that being in community is hard. In scripture we can find practical guidance for gathering through good and hard times. The Holy Spirit is always at work—in, through, and among us—to gather and regather us again. In community we meet and become Christ’s body in ways that are impossible for us as individuals; all the commandments are fulfilled in this call to neighbor-love (Rom. 13:9).
Jesus offers practical advice to his disciples on how individuals—and the church as a whole—should go about restoring relationships when one member has sinned against another.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] 15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
Thank you Stanley Steemer for
a wonderful job cleaning and
sanitizing our church!
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For people affected by coronavirus, essential workers, doctors, nurses, aides, those working in nursing homes, etc.
· For victims of wildfires, flooding and earthquakes.
* For Ron Simpson, Roy Pihl, George and Janet Balcom, Maj-Britt Traynor, Beverly Klang, Trudy Fetzner, Thom Shagla, Matt Isaacson, Mabel Tranum, Gloria Fitzpatrick, Sarah Van Staalduinen, John Gingrass, Dick Starks. For people serving in the military, including Ben Wickerham and Jeffrey Clauson, and their families, those caught up in persecution, violence and war.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.
· For The ELCZ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and ELCZa Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia.