The Apostolic Community

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The tenth and final footprint of the Holy Spirit noted by our Assistant to the Bishop, the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, has to do with how people who come to Christ by way of Baptism are then joined by the Holy Spirit to the Apostolic Community, that is, the Church.

There is an extreme emphasis on the individual in our culture. Perhaps this is a reaction to the ills of the ideologies of collectivism and socialism. But we need to be aware of the harm with all “isms”, including “individualism”.

Created in the image and after the likeness of the Triune God we were created for community, so that we might join in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and with others created in God’s image. We were born to a family that resided with other families in a community. And in Baptism, joined to Christ the head, we necessarily are joined to all the other members of his Body.

It is in the Church, as the workshop of the Holy Spirit, that sinners are made into disciples. It is in this context that we are ministered to with Word and Sacrament that are extended to us from outside ourselves! One does not commune oneself. You receive the gift from Christ’s ambassador.

And so the tenth footprint joins the preceding nine. By way of reminder, the first footprint is about God’s promise to send the Spirit. The second is waiting upon (asking in prayer for) the gift. The third is recognizing that the gift is poured out on the community before filling each individual. The fourth is the aid of the Spirit in overcoming communication barriers. The fifth is the boldness the Holy Spirit enables in our witness. The sixth is clarity in pointing to Christ’s crucifixion. The seventh is the constant and repeated witness to the Cross. The eighth is in working the message deep into the hearts of sinners. And the ninth is in our being joined to Christ through Baptism.

Since You Asked…

What is meant by the term “liturgy”? (from the Greek, “work of the people” or “public service”):

More than a set form of service or one particular service, the liturgy is the whole body of texts and music used for the worship of God. The Lutheran Book of Worship is the liturgy of many Lutheran churches in North America. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)

Our Lutheran liturgy involves the participation of all who are gathered: clergy, worship assistants, and laity. Worship is not a spectator sport. We have been gathered by God to receive from Him. And so in reverence, we give thanks by offering praise and thanksgiving to our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Liturgical worship helps us all share in this.