Welcomed and Sent

Pastor's monthly newsletter article for July, 2012

It is a late Friday night at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp. The sounds of campers and counselors in the next room, sharing evening devotions for the last time this week, are wafting through the door. It has been a great week, and I’m glad to have had the chance to share it with Alan, Audrey, Landon, Maddie and Matthew.

The theme for the week has been, “It’s All about Grace.” We have studied what the Bible says about grace. We have heard stories about people whose lives were transformed by grace. We have practiced grace with one another. We have promised to seek out those places of grace that we know once we get back home. And the steady drumbeat of the week has been: “You are loved and cherished just as you are, by a God who cares enough about you to die for you.”

Grace is the word we use to describe the love of God that we don’t deserve, cannot earn, yet receive anyway from God’s hand. Grace is also the word we use to describe the way God’s presence in our lives strengthens, empowers and inspires us to be the presence of Christ in this world. At camp we asked one another, “Now that you know you don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, what are you going to do?” What we are going to do, of course, is grace. The same gift that God gives to us is the gift we give to the world. Recipients and agents of grace, all of us.

That has been the focus of camp this week, and that is the focus of our congregation as well. The central mission statement for Saint Peter Lutheran Church is: “We Are Welcomed into God’s Love, just as we are; and We Are Sent into God’s World, to be a reflection of Christ’s love.” Our intent is that in everything we do, from Sunday morning worship, to fellowship gatherings, to Bible study classes, to business meetings, to service events, every single participant experiences both the deep and powerful love of God, and the radical call to share that love with the world around us. In everything we do.

Do you worship each week? How do words from the liturgy or the hymns or the Eucharist cause you to experience God’s love? Do you teach a Sunday School class? How will you help our younger participants discover what God is sending them to do? Do you attend a fellowship event? How will you see that a newcomer realizes how glad we are that he or she is involve? Do you lead a Ministry Team? How will your team help people discover there is nothing that separate us from the love of God that we know in Christ Jesus?

There are many ministries that are part of our life together at Saint Peter, but each one has the same two purposes: helping us to discover that we are fully embraced by God’s love, and sent into the world to share that love with others. How do you experience that through the ministries of our congregation?

God’s peace to you all,

David J. Risendal, Pastor