Recently, we added clip art to our online calendar showing a small church on a tropical island. The caption reads, “Don’t take a vacation from church.” This does make some sense. Our spiritual needs and the needs of others don’t stop just because it is summer. We all need to be cared for, built up, strengthened and fed – sometimes in concrete ways. Coming together as the people of God – where we share our time, treasure, and talent, as well as our own needs – changes our lives along with the lives of others. These always remain important and sacred times where we will encounter the Risen Christ in some way, because as Jesus taught, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).
Yet note, Jesus said “where two or three are gathered.” Wherever we go, Christ awaits to meet us. Wherever we gather, Christ is. We are reminded that we are the church, not some building. Our brothers and sisters in Christ live well beyond Mechanicsville and Virginia and wish to welcome us in his name. No building or denomination can contain them. Some of our family members even wait to be discovered, as they will finally learn of Christ’s great love for them through us.
Wading in our faith and baptism, we are no longer our own. We are a new creation and part of a growing family. We always remain Christ’s, and we can never truly take a vacation from whom we are or who’s we are. As Christian’s, we are only asked to hold on to the hand of grace while we journey; trying to live up to our sacred family name.
Yes, we discover that we are “Christ-bearers” created, called, and sent into the world. This summer wherever we find ourselves – at home or away – I hope we all get the rest and relaxation we need, but also recapture, embrace, and come to better understand our true identity. As the communion of saints, let us remain the church that always recognizes Christ’s presence in our lives and makes his love known.
The above pastoral letter was adapted from Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (June 2012 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2012 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.