Grace Notes 2021-06-16
Christianity is relational! Doctrine, faith, and compassion all matter. But at the heart of the Christian Faith is our relationship to our Heavenly Father.
Being created in the image and likeness of God means, at least in part, that humans are meant to share in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we were meant to be in community with others made in God’s image!
It is by God’s grace, through faith in Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit that estranged sinners have been forgiven and reconciled to God. In spite of our fallen state from fellowship with the Lord in the Garden of Paradise, through the work of Christ our Lord we have been re-reunited to him.
I mention all this, because at the heart of evangelism is relationship. Let’s call it friendship. This provides an important understanding of how to go about evangelizing (gospeling) others. Make friends! But to have a friend, we must be a friend. That is, we need to take an interest in others, engage them, enter into conversation with them, show yourself trustworthy and willing to support and come to the aid of them.
Then there is one more thing. We need to be open about who we believe we are as Christians. And quite unlike the spirit of the age, rather than a personal quest of self-discovery or self-assertion, we can share that we have been given an identity. Let your friends know that you are a Christian, that you belong to God, that you are his and that is what you are living for. He came and sought us. He is reclaiming that which he first created for himself, but then became estranged due to our rebellion.
The making of friends on that basis is evangelism. And we must continue to be a friend whether or not those we befriend come to the faith. The friendship after all is a gift, indeed a witness in itself! It testifies to the importance of relationships!
Since You Asked…
Why do we celebrate Holy Communion nearly every Sunday?
The celebration of the meal we call Holy Communion has consistently been the chief act of Christian worship since the age of the Apostles. The Lutheran Reformation did not break with this tradition of 1,500 years. In fact the Augsburg Confession (our principal statement of faith) declares Holy Communion to be the chief act of worship for Lutherans on Sundays and festivals (Art. 26). (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)
You might think of Holy Communion as spiritual bread and drink for our journey (pilgrimage), for our Lord’s Body and Blood is true nutrition indeed!