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In the Church's Lap 

Creation resounds with affirmations from God of its goodness.

When He looks on the the earth and the seas: "He saw that it was good." And again the vegetation and the trees: "He saw that it was good." And so on, culminating in the crowning declaration: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1.31).

There is only one thing in the world before the Fall that is not good. Having made Adam, the first man, and situated him among the various and sundry creatures, God looks on with concern and says, "It is not good for man to be alone."

We are created for community.

God has made us to be social animals. We all know this intuitively, experientially: that human life well lived is a matter of relationships. 

Strange, then, how often Christians are tempted to treat their spirituality as a solitary, "me-and-Jesus" endeavor. For instance, when people opine that they needn't attend the Divine Service because they can worship in the woods or the backyard or on the golf course.

Be that as it may (though I'm doubtful about how many worshipers are on the links), it misses a fundamental point: the God who created you for community has also redeemed you to belong to the community of the Church. As St. Paul writes, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12.13).

In other words, the family of faith is not just some nice value added to a basically individualistic experience; it's part and parcel to our discipleship and sanctification. 

Luther expressed this beautifully in the Large Catechism.

In his section on the 3rd Article of the Creed—"I believe in the holy Christian Church"—he writes this: "The Holy Spirit first leads us into his holy community, placing us in the Church's lap, where he preaches to us and brings us to Christ" (LC II.37).

Notice the progression here: first we come to be part of this "holy community" of the Church, and then  we are brought to Christ—"in the Church's lap." Belonging begets believing.

The Reformer will go on to refer to the Church as "the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God." The implication is clear: we can no more dispense with the Church than we can dispense with our moms!

This, too, is part of the good news.

Not only has Christ forgiven and renewed us individually, He has also poured out His Holy Spirit and gathered us together into this holy community called "church." 

Within the Church we are nourished in faith as we receive God's gifts in Word and Sacrament. Within the Church we fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6.2). Within the Church we are built up as the Body of Christ in order to bear the love of Christ to our neighbors. 

To quote once more from the hymn I mentioned on Sunday, "Forth in the Peace of Christ We Go": 

We are the Church; Christ bids us show
That in His Church all nations find
Their hearth and home where Christ restores
True peace, true love to all mankind. (
LSB 920:5)

Because it's still not good for man to be alone. 

Sunday's sermon

On Pentecost Sunday, we saw how the Holy Spirit calls and gathers the scattered people of God. And in doing so, He reverses the curse of Babel.

Listen to Sunday's sermon

News & Notes

  • What a joyous Pentecost Sunday! We had the privilege of celebrating not only the Confirmation of two of our young people, but also one of their baptisms! Check out some pictures of our new confirmands.
  • It wouldn't have been nearly as beautiful a service without the wonderful musical accompaniment of Pat Leege. Pat plays with a palpable joy, and I am grateful for her sharing her gifts with God's people at Trinity.
  • Speaking of music, we'll be fortunate to have with us this coming Sunday (and for a few thereafter) longtime Arcadian Bob Unger. Bob wants to assemble a choir, even for this Sunday if we have the voices. If you're interested in participating, come to church at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday for rehearsal. Subsequent rehearsal times will be announced Sunday.

From the Church Year

This week the Church Year commemorates the Council of Nicea. From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

"The first Council of Nicaea was convened in the early summer of 325 by the Roman Emperor Constantine at what is today Isnuk, Turkey. The emperor presided at the opening of the council. The council ruled against the Arians, who taught that Jesus was not the eternal Son of God but was created by the Father and was called Son of God because of his righteousness. The chief opponents of the Arians were Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, and his deacon, Athanasius. The council confessed the eternal divinity of Jesus and adopted the earliest version of the Nicene Creed, which in its entirety was adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381."

"And [I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only‐begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father, by whom all things were made..."

– Nicene Creed, A.D. 325

Looking ahead to Sunday

Holy Trinity
  • Readings
    • Old Testament lesson—Proverbs 8.1-4, 22-31
    • Epistle lesson—Acts 2.14, 22-36
    • Gospel—John 8.48-59

+ Grace & Peace +

Pastor Tinetti

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