This upcoming weekend, by popular demand, we will have an installment of "Ask the Pastor," where the message will be centered around your anonymous questions about the Bible, Church History, Worship, Lutheranism, St. Andrew's, Faith & Daily Life, etc. This will happen at all three services, so begin to think about some of your questions in the days ahead. Often people are amazed, as they listen and learn, at how the questions of others are their questions too (whether they submitted them or not).
In case I do not have a lot of time to address this Sunday's Gospel Lesson in worship, I wanted to use this forum for a brief but important reflection:
Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." If we really reflect on this, we realize that it is a really chalenging commandment indeed. So sometimes we need to remind ourselves that above and beyond Jesus' command to love is his actual act of love. I would contend that Jesus did not go to the cross to make God loving or to satisfy God's justice or to take on our punishment so much as to show us in a profound way that God is love and that we, as God's children, are loved. So whether we get a higher score or a lower score on the "love thy neighbor meter" in the days ahead, Jesus still loves us more than we can possibly imagine. And hearing of this kind of love, over and over again, we are not overcome by guilt and anxiety but are set free daily to go out and be Christ's body in the world, acting as agents of his love and grace with others.
I give thanks each day for this gift of grace in my life and for the rich blessing of our faith community. See you in church!