I heard an excellent Keynote Address at the Mission Festival which started the Annual NALC Convocation last month in Denver, Colorado. The speaker was the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, the Assistant to the Bishop for Missions for the North American Lutheran Church. Dr. Buba is originally from Ethiopia and he now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three children.
The theme of the week was “The Holy Spirit: Calling | Gathering | Enlightening | Sanctifying”. Some of you may recognize the four attributes as coming from Luther’s explanation to the Third Article of the Creed.
What impressed me about Dr. Buba’s address at the Mission Festival was the way he emphasized the all-important work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s ongoing mission to make disciples of all nations (cf. Mt. 28:19-20). And he did so by sharing what he identified as the ten “Footprints of the Holy Spirit” in the opening chapters of the Book of Acts. I would like to share with you these footprints in the upcoming weeks. They will be immensely helpful to us in our outreach at Gift of Grace.
In the opening five verses of Acts, Luke recalls the summation of his first Book, that being the Gospel of Luke. He writes of Jesus’ resurrection and his repeated resurrected appearances to his disciples over 40 days. And then prior to Jesus’ ascension Luke wrote this, “while staying with them [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The first footprint of the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s promise to send the Holy Spirit. Dr. Buba insists that it is important for us to continually speak the promise, for we need to be reminded that we are not sent into the Lord’s mission alone! We are accompanied by God the Holy Spirit!
Since You Asked…
Does the receiving of money offerings play a significant role in the worship service?
Yes, more than you might think! Cash is one of the strongest symbols in modern culture. When we offer our money on the altar it should represent our time and effort – our very selves. In early Christian worship gifts-in-kind were handled during the weekly assemblage. In our post-industrial societies, we now exchange in paper or metal symbols. The offering of our selves upon the altar is in response to God’s love proclaimed in the Good News and in anticipation of how God offers back that which is entrusted to him. During the moment of offering we also offer bread and wine upon the altar, and in return these gifts are offered back to us as the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.