May we be one so that the world might believe.

We are quickly approaching the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We recall that this observation is not so much about Martin Luther as it is about understanding that without Christ we can do nothing. It is about Christ being the center…the center of our journey of faith as individuals and with our neighbors. It is about Christ being the center of our common witness and service.

With Christ as our center we are reminded of our communal relationships which are reflected in a common purpose in and for and with the world.
In Christ we are committed to reconciliation. We recall that Christ calls himself “the true vine” of which cannot be without the branches. Indeed, Christ does not want to be without the church, without you and me…without the entire Body of Christ. And, of course, the church is nothing without Christ. We can do nothing without Christ.

The good news is that in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be witnesses, ministers, to the Good News.

So, can you say how many ministers we have at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church? The answer I am looking for, of course, is not one (Pastor Steve) but rather is around 400, or about how many members we have at Shepherd of the Mountains. But, saying that, I wonder, when did it happen that “member” became distinct from “ministers?”

After all, we are all ministers of the good news of Jesus Christ. Like Martin Luther, each one of us has a unique calling to be a minister: whether it is at Shepherd of the Mountains or at our work places or at home or at school…in other words, wherever we find ourselves. The question is how will we be ministers of Christ in our particular circle of friends? How will be ministers of Christ in our particular circumstances and situations? How will we be members of the priesthood we all share in Christ Jesus through our baptisms? By our words and by our actions how will we proclaim the Good News?

I pray that amongst all of our diversity, all of our interests, all of our visions for ministry, that we may continue to faithfully exhibit oneness in purpose as well as witness to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we reflect the words found in John 17:21: “That they may all be one so that the world may believe.”

Christ’s Peace, Pastor Steve