Monday, August 29, 2005

Welcome or not?

I’m in the midst of a sermon series on the Five Guiding Principles put together by Kelly Fryer and Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Lockport, Illinois to clarify who and what they are as a congregation. The five principles are:
1. Jesus Is Lord
2. Everyone Is Welcome
3. Love Changes People
4. Everybody Has Something to Offer
5. The World Needs What We Have

Copyright © Kelly A. Fryer and Cross of Glory Lutheran Church.

We’re still reading the lessons and chanting the psalm each week according to the Revised Common Lectionary, it’s just that I’m not preaching any of those lessons during these five weeks. Yesterday we looked at principle #2, Everyone Is Welcome. It’s not something that a lot of people might disagree with but our practices don’t always mirror our ideals.

After worship one parishioner pointed out something that seemed a strange juxtaposition. The psalm, according to the lectionary, was Psalm 105.1-6, 23-26. Those verses were a fitting response to the first lesson (Ex 3.1-15) where Moses has his conversation with God at the burning bush. This parishioner read on through some of the verses that were omitted from the psalm and mentioned such things as "He struck down the firstborn of their land, the firstfruits of all their strength." "He gave his people the lands of the nations, and they took the fruit of others’ toil,...." "Hallelujah!" None of which sounds as inclusive as the Everyone Is Welcome message of my sermon.

He never said whether he agreed with my sermon message or whether he took to the message of the psalm verses that seemed to show God’s favour for Israel at the expense of the Egyptians "who rebelled against his words" and the Canaanites whose land and fruit they took.
Strange juxtaposition indeed. I’ll lead with the love foot rather than the law foot; with the grace foot rather than the judgment foot.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2.8-9).


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