“Just as our neighbor is in need and lacks that in which we abound, so we were in need before God and lacked his mercy. Hence, as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians.”
~ Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian
This was a great weekend at Trinity. There was an energy all throughout the building. There was wonderful worship, good conversation, laughter, great food, a bouncy thing, iced coffee (mmmmm…), Trinity U, Sunday School and more.
And in the midst of it all was service. Three separate service projects that packaged and prepared school supplies, meals and health care kits needed by children and families within our community and on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Thank you to all who participated in these great ministries!
My deepest hope is that the idea of “God’s Work, Our Hands” is not perceived by our congregation as an event, or a project. Rather, “God’s Work, Our Hands” is a lifestyle. God calls all of us into something deeper: A deeper way of serving. A deeper way of loving others. A deeper way of growing in our faith. And as followers of Jesus, we need to remember that there is a sequence to this process of our faith being formed through “God’s Work, Our Hands.”
- God Acts
- We React
- We Become
It sounds simple. But in reality, it’s one of the hardest things we can do.
God always acts first. God created. God gave the law. God gave the prophets. God taught. God healed. God was born into humanity. God forgives. God loves. God sacrifices. God resurrects.
The subject of the sentence is always God, and the verb always refers to the work of God.
In the waters of baptism, God reaches out to us first and makes promises. And we make promises in response. In the bread and wine of communion, God reaches out and through God’s presence, gives forgiveness. And then we are asked to forgive others. God always acts first. And then we react.
Then, we become something different than we are. Luther describes this as becoming “Little Christs.” We live out and carry the gifts of God with us to give to others. We become God’s hands, at work in the world.
And then, we repeat and continue. I know this sounds much simpler than it is. Because of sin, the condition of brokenness that we all experience, this simple four-part sequence can be broken. And we really aren’t able to pull that all back together and restore it on our own. So we rely on Jesus. Because of God’s grace, we are able to re-enter and re-experience the cycle:
- God Acts
- We React
- We Become
This weekend we were fed by Word and Sacrament. We experienced God’s actions first within our lives. Then we had the opportunity to use our hands to become little Christs through the simple tasks we undertook. And through these simple tasks, we know that someone, somewhere, is going to experience a small transformation in their life.
Look for ways this week to see how God might be working, taking the initiative in your life. Acting first, so that you might react for the sake of our neighbor, and to fulfill God’s mission in our community.
Remember to use God’s work, and because of that work, remember to use our hands to serve.