Pastor’s Corner

Grace be unto you from our Lord Jesus Christ,

The coming together of the “Penn-Zion’s and Brush Creek Cooperative Ministry” is a time of renewal and hope. And now that the congregational discussions and processes are over, as well as the time of waiting for May 1st to roll around, this is the moment for us step forward into a new venture of faith as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us.  Knowing that expectations and concerns and anxieties may be a little high at this time as something new is born among us, I would like to take this opportunity to share a couple of devotional readings from “Seize the Day with Dietrich Bonhoeffer” written by Charles Ringma (Pinon Press, 2000), to remind us of who and what we are, and to settle us into the daily life of being the church in light of our new relationship between the two congregations.

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts…”  (Acts 2:46, NRSV)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in “The Way to Freedom”: “So there is no area of the church which is not wholly and exclusively subject to Christ. It is a dreadful reduction of the New Testament concept if today the church is often seen to have its existence only in preaching and the administration of the sacrament.”  Highlighting this statement, Charles Ringma writes: “Church is not always an attractive place.  It often consists in the repetition of certain ceremonies, worship, and sermons.  The church can be a far more attractive place than that.  But its attractiveness need not lie in making those ceremonies more tantalizing.  It should lie in expanding the notion of what it means to be the church.  Church is the life together of those who belong to Christ and who meet together – not only for common worship, but also for companionship, hospitality, friendship, common concerns, and participating in the joys and struggles of life.”

And then there is this…

“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25: 40, NRSV)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in “Life Together”: “The…service that one should perform for another in a Christian community is that of active helpfulness. This means, initially, simple assistance in trifling, external matters.”  Charles Ringma shares:  “The Christian community is where Christians meet for fellowship, where they work together, and live in families or as households of singles.  Each particular situation yields its opportunity for acts of kindness and service that enhance the well-being of the other person.  Acts of service should never be thought of simply as being the traditional forms of ministry, such as preaching, teaching, healing, or counseling.  Acts of service involve the whole gamut of care, encouragement, and helpfulness.  Because acts of service know no limit, everyone can work in ways that build up others.”

The framework of consistent worship undergirds, and the study of God’s Word enhances, these apt descriptions of what it means to be the Body of Christ working together in today’s world. I pray that as time pulls us forward into the future, we may more than exemplify the wisdom of these words as we live, love, and work together as God’s people.  I pray that we will know the fullness and joy of being in the fellowship of faith.  And I pray that we will always rejoice together as the children of God who are forgiven and given new life through Christ our Lord.  May God’s blessings be upon us as the newly formed “Penn-Zion’s and Brush Creek Cooperative Ministry.”

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Steiner