DAY 59: A New Sense of What it Means to Be Church

We continue our reflection on God’s call to us through the ELCA’s “60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.”

DAY 59: A New Sense of What it Means to Be Church

“As talking together as Christians about tough social issues becomes a learned, ongoing practice, we begin to sense that this activity is an important aspect of what it means to be the Church and to carry on its public ministry and witness.

“At the birth of the Church at Pentecost (see Acts 2), the Holy Spirit enabled diverse people to communicate in ways that moved beyond the usual barriers. The Spirit continues to do so in ways that strengthen and deepen who we are in relation to God and one another. Those who are ‘other’ from us challenge us when we mistake our reason and experience as being the case for all people. With new eyes we begin to see how God is active in the world—in the people, the social issues, ethical challenges, the suffering, and the delights that we discover there. We find that our relationship with God grows stronger, our relationship with people in our congregation grows deeper, and our lives and the life of our congregation are transformed. As these things continue to happen, God works to transform the world around us.

“What we confess as the Church becomes embodied in how we are in relation with one another and how we witness to God’s action in the world. Through the Spirit we participate in Christ’s death and resurrection. The power of the cross emphasizes weakness and vulnerability, rather than dominating, controlling, or ‘being right.’ It is relational, incarnational, and generative of new forms of human connection and community. The conversation of the Christian community involves all the members of the community attempting to discern in every way possible what God is doing in our world, and what God is calling us to do, in congregations and other expressions of the church, as well as in our daily lives. That is why talking together as Christians about tough social issues is so pivotal in what it means to be the Church.”

From the ELCA resource “Talking Together as Christians About Tough Social Issues.”