Building One Another Up
“For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9–11
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
All Saints’ Sunday is a special Holy Day in the Church. On this day, we especially remember how we are members of one Body of Christ together and, in that, we are members of one another. We remember our loved ones who have gone before us. We welcome and recognize new members who have joined with our congregation in following Jesus together. And, this year, in a special afternoon service, we will also commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation together with Fergus Falls ELCA congregations and Our Lady of Victory Catholic Parish, recognizing our unity with our Lutheran and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.
I need to share with you how encouraging and engaging this past month’s From Conflict toCommunion Study Group has been for me. The conversations have been rich and the desire to commemorate God’s reforming activity within the church, while also affirming our unity, as the one Body of Christ, has been clear. I’ve been asked several times, “Where is this leading us?” The truth is that I don’t know exactly, but I do trust that the Holy Spirit is at work among us forming and re-forming us as God’s New Creation, raising us up to newness of life in Christ. Martin Luther once expressed his own trust in God, by saying:
“This life is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.”
We’re on the way walking together by faith. For this and for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I am continually grateful.
In Christ’s Service,