Gift of Grace
This week I am switching gears and moving away from the discussion we have been having on Holy Communion. At present I don’t have a series in mind, but I would like this week to say something about the name we early on chose for our congregation.
Not all of you were on hand in the late spring and early summer of 2010. You may recall we had our first worship service on Sunday, June 6, 2010. That is why current plans are under way to have a Ten Year Anniversary Celebration for Sunday, June 7. This much we know so far. We will gather for the Divine Service at 1pm that day, and then host an open house from 2:30-4pm.
But to return to our name, in the late spring and early summer of 2010 we had people contribute suggestions for a name. It is not often folks get to be in on the ground level in a startup congregation and have a say in the name. A number of suggestions were given, and after prayer and deliberation, for at least a week if I recall, we voted and chose “Gift of Grace Lutheran Church.”
What I especially remember is the sentiment that caught hold and prevailed that we wanted to have a positive name pointing forward, and not necessarily looking behind. For instance, one suggestion was Solid Rock Lutheran Church. That choice had to do with how we wanted to distinguish ourselves from others whom we felt were not standing on the solid rock of God’s Word. Instead, as I have stated we chose something fresh and not fixated on a past dispute.
What is interesting about “Gift of Grace” is the New Testament Greek words for both: charisma charisma and charis (they are related). That is to say, the gifts we have been freely given are quite undeserved! They have freely been given, unearned and undeserved. What a gracious reminder in a name. And we wish to share this with others.
Since You Asked…
What is the Christian’s Hope?
In a word, it is the resurrection of the body to life everlasting in the world to come. This is more accurate and complete than just saying “life after death.” It is also more helpful than saying “going to heaven.” When Jesus returns at the end of the age to judge the living and the dead, baptized believers will be raised bodily! They will share in a resurrection similar to Jesus’ resurrection. And being in his presence on that day and for all eternity is not just a matter of escaping to heaven, but living in his presence in the new heaven and earth. The Lord intends to renew and restore his creation. So our central hope is the resurrection of the dead, with believers inheriting the Kingdom.