Sent on a Mission –
Being Church for the Sake of our Neighbors
In May we transition from the Easter season to “Ordinary Time”. Easter is all about the Resurrection – celebrating Jesus’ rising from the dead and exploring what it means in our own lives. Ordinary Time – the long “green season” of the church year – is about the ongoing work of living our lives as followers of the Risen Savior in a world that’s still stuck in the violence and fear of Death and Evil. What does that look like? Hope in the face of cynicism, generosity in the face of scarcity, compassion and truthfulness in the face of indifference. And it looks like actions rooted in those convictions of hope and generosity – following a Resurrected Savior who has defeated death means sharing that Good News with our neighbors, especially those who are suffering and oppressed. Our mission as a church mentions being both Christ-Centered and Community Serving – and the second grows out of the first. This has been true of the church since it’s earliest days after Jesus rose from the dead! The church has always connected it’s mission as followers of Jesus, the Risen Lord, with it’s service to love it’s neighbors.
One of the ways we live out this mission – to be centered on Jesus and therefore serving our community – is through our partnerships with local, national and global ministries serving people in need. Partners like Mosaic, Rockford Rescue Mission, Carpenter’s Place, Lutheran World Relief, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI).
Of course, being Christ-Centered and Community Serving also helps us live into our other two adjectives in the church’s mission. When our service is grounded in the deep peace and hope of the resurrection it leads to us spiritually growing. As we serve, we grow in the fruits of the Spirit: peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We find we meet Jesus all around us as we join in his mission. We also become a more inviting congregation – a place where all see and experience the radical welcome God extends to them.
As we look towards the “Ordinary Time” of summer and fall, would you take a moment and ask God, “How should I serve my neighbors?” Maybe it’s time to try a new activity or give a little more financially. One thing I can promise – as together we serve our neighbors, God will fill us with gifts that cannot be bought: hope, joy, peace, and love.
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed – Alleluia! Amen.