Jesus Christ reveals to us who God is and what God wants. God in Christ loves us and is faithful even when we are not. The stories of Jesus we hear in the gospels are cornerstones of the faith we seek. Jesus' life of consoling, healing, freeing, clothing, feeding and loving all people shows us how to love each other and the world. Jesus' death on the cross is our central story - it helps us to interpret our own lives, in which suffering and death are present. Even as God was present with Jesus in his suffering and death, God is present with us in ours walking with us through all the grief and pain life can bring. We live in the faith that God loves us and claims us as beloved children. Therefore, death (in all its forms) will never have the last word.
We gather, holding open a space of welcome, support, and acceptance when you need it. We gather to be reminded of the love and grace we have in God through Jesus. We gather to encounter the Spirit of God and to find ourselves swept up into the mystery of the Trinity - our Three-in-One God who seeks connection with you.
Worship is what we do with and for each other. We worship in a way that was formed over many centuries: The liturgy speaks for us when we don't have the words, meeting us differently every week, and holding us in communion with countless generations. Gathered, we listen for what God is saying to us today, in this place, at this point in our lives. In community, we give thanks, we lament, we find forgiveness, and connect through the mysteries of this life in Christ. We share a holy meal to which all people, without condition, are invited and welcomed. And, we are sent into the world, confident in God's grace, to live generously in service of others, amid the trials of life, proclaiming Christ in word and deed. Our human limitations and failings, the ambiguities, uncertainties and suffering that we all encounter are known by God through Jesus Christ, who walks with us through it all.
Martin Luther was a monk and teacher in the 1500's who had many ideas that opened the church to a new understanding of God and Jesus. As "Lutherans", we find life in many of his teachings. Primary is that God's love and forgiveness are pure gift- they are never deserved but always given. Freed from having to live perfect lives, we do our best, following Jesus' lead knowing that we will falter, and that God's love and forgiveness will hold us still. To put it another way, to believe it is to receive it.
Luther also said that God is present in the suffering we experience, even and especially when God seems most absent. God revealed God's presence with Jesus in his suffering and death by raising him from the dead. This belief, that God is present in suffering, means that we need not fear suffering, helping us to see, serve and go to all those who suffer in the world.
Luther put the sacraments of Baptism, the Eucharist, and the proclamation of the gospel (the good news about Jesus) at the center of our lives as Christians and we celebrate these every chance we get. These bring us back to faith when we have lost it, sustain us in community with each other and Christ, and stir in us the desire to share God's love with others.
These are some things that distinguish us from other churches and denominations, but they don't divide us from them. In Christ, we are brothers and sisters, members of one family in the great body of Christ. These beliefs and practices give us life and courage to face a world that suffers with confidence in God, who we see through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
"Live by Faith, Share Christ's Love, Be a Voice of Hope"
Copyright © 2022 Messiah Lutheran Church - All Rights Reserved.