10142018 21 Aft Pent 20 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Membership Matters: What is membership all about?”

 

10142018 21 Aft Pent 20 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

October 14, 2018

“Membership Matters: What is membership all about?”

Sermon Audio

Unless you have been living in a cave or under a rock for the last few months, you have heard all of the ‘hype’, ‘political posturing’, ‘smear campaigns’, ‘reinterpretations of past events’ of the lives of Dr. Ford and now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.  Sadly, I think this has shown a clear divide within our country. How this divide can be dealt with in a healthy manner will challenge our country, but also for we who gather here today provide an opportunity for listening to one another, understanding we are unique in our experiences and expertise and especially showing compassion for what we believe, how we have been hurt and how we can demonstrate that the church is a safe place for all people.

You see, today we encounter in our series, Membership Matters, our community of faith.  We are afforded the opportunity to ask, “What is membership all about?” as members in the Body of Christ.  We have the opportunity to be a place where healthy relationships can be a reality.  Yes, we at times have sinned in thought, word and deed. Like we confessed this morning in our confession, ‘by what we have done and left undone’.  We are imperfect, but God says, “I know that those who gather here at church, all of us, His children, are imperfect”, but God gathers us together and says, “I forgive you”.  In holding us accountable, He also provides us like in Monopoly the “Get out of Jail Free Card”. It isn’t a card that allows us to only proclaim, it’s ok to be “independent”.  It is a card that has personal accountability for each and every one of us as members in the Body of Christ forgiven by Him.

We the members of Emmanuel Lutheran, a community of faith, can and should hold each other accountable, but also be prepared to be a community of faith that lifts one another up in prayer.  One way we do this is our Prayer Group meeting that meets monthly. So impactful is this group that we lift the needs of our ‘community of faith’ up in order to be the people of God. Monthly we pray for our staff, council and the needs of our congregation, changing community and world.  Some might ask, but what does this have to do with membership? Simply, God wants all of us to come to Him in prayer and this is why we are members and how we can bear one another's burdens and be the church of Jesus Christ.

In lifting one another up in prayer, we demonstrate a healthy relationship as a Community of Faith, with and for one another as God’s children.  In Martin Luther’s Catechism, when he speaks about the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, the following question is asked, “What should we ask of God in our prayers?”   Koehler in the explanation says, “We should ask for everything that tends to the glory of God and to our own and our neighbor’s welfare, both spiritual and bodily blessings.”

The blessings we ask for has one goal in mind, the “Glory of God”.  And God’s Glory comes when we keep God as our focus and demonstrate our being a ‘community of faith’ that looks out for one another seeking a healthy relationship with and for one another with God as our focus.  This is what membership is all about in the Body of Christ. It is about God and not ourselves. It is about God’s mission, God’s Glory and God’s message in order that all would understand the hymn we are about to sing.

Rusty Edwards penned our sermon hymn to help those who sing it to understand our membership in the Body of Christ isn’t about us, but about the mission of God for the people of God.  So clear does he state this that all the stanzas clearly point to our being a community of faith with membership in the Body of Christ. The last part of the final stanza says it best.  “We all are one in mission; we all are one in call, our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.”

May we embrace being a welcoming community of faith here at Emmanuel, but also a community of faith that believes membership matters.  For Jesus Christ message and mission for us to proclaim is His unconditional love for all of mankind. How He, the Second person of the Trinity, unites us in His Body, the Church.  And that He is Lord of All and He wants us to demonstrate to and for others the healthy relationship in our community of faith is meant for all because of His love for them and each and everyone of us who gather here lifting one another up in prayer as we sing “We All Are One in Mission.”  AMEN.