Church Council and Mission Teams
Women of the ELCA
Grace Lutheran Church
Our mission is to seek
the fullness of life in Christ
for all people.
Job Opportunity - Director of Youth and Children
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I remember that, while learning to speak conversational Spanish in high school, one would say Gracias when saying thank you. I always wondered why the responder would say de nada for you are welcome. Does de nada not literally mean it's nothing? Well, it had to mean something or the person would not be saying "thank you." Right? Well, my Spanish teacher explained that de nada was actually a short cut for saying think nothing of it, which makes a little more sense to me. Sometimes things aren't actually intended to be taken literally.
Every language has its phrases that mean one thing but seem to be saying something else, unless you grow up with the language and understand the meaning to be figurative and not literal. We have such cases in churches, as well. When Martin Luther was explaining the first article of the Apostles Creed, he said " …God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property, along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life." Now, if that is the case, then why do we have to work so hard to acquire all of these things? Why do some have more than others? Why are there people who have absolutely nothing? Does God have something against them; have they done something wrong? These certainly are legitimate questions, if we are to interpret that passage as meaning that God doles out our earthly goods and necessities in the literal sense. But that really isn't what Luther was saying in his explanation.What Luther was saying had to do with who God is. God is the one who set the world and everything in it in motion. God, as our Creator, has provided the mechanism by which everything works as it is meant to work. However, human beings have a tendency toward reworking or redefining things according to our own likes and desires. In so doing, we have made it tough for things to work as God has meant for them to work. We have even set some people over others rather than considering, as God certainly has intended, that everyone is equal in the eyes of God (in spite of the fact that there are obvious differences in appearances and languages around the world).
One thing we do know for certain, and Jesus stands in testimony to that fact; God loves this world so much that he has graced us with his own presence in the flesh through his Son. In the person of Jesus God has saved us from ourselves, and now it is time for us to say Thank you, Lord. We do that by trying to live meaningful and productive lives; by praying to and worshiping God; by using our time and our God-given gifts to God's service; and, by (whenever possible, and by whatever means have been provided to us) giving back to God a portion of what we have so these gifts can be a blessing to others in God's Kingdom. In every sense of the word, this is stewardship, but that word has been viewed so many times as church fundraising that it has lost its original intent of our glorifying God through graceful living and generous giving as a way to express our gratitude for God's limitless generosity toward us.
God has made it possible for those whom he has created to live abundant lives, as long as we understand that the abundant gifts God has bestowed upon his created beings are meant to be shared. If we human beings accumulate more than we need, we are doing so at the expense of others who may have to do without. Our Grace family has been most generous over our fifty years of existence in supporting our congregation's programs and ministries, in our response to needs within our community, and in our support of synodical and churchwide ministries. I am encouraged that we are seeking new ways to be even more generous in our serving through new endeavors such as Stop Hunger Now and Building for Independence. As we continue to discern how to best serve God and our neighbors, I hope each of us will also prayerfully consider what our financial response will continue to be in order to support our Plan for Mission both now and into the future. May God continue to guide and direct our steps as we strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Yours in Christ,
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