As the leaves begin to turn color and fall and the days grow shorter and cooler we may reflect on the seasons of our own lives, especially those of us in our autumn years. St. Paul was reflecting on his life and legacy from a prison cell when he wrote his second letter as an older mentor to his younger partner in ministry, Timothy. We’ll be reading this second letter to Timothy in our Sunday worship this October. Paul writes to encourage Timothy in his faith and ministry, reminding him to “rekindle” God’s spirit of power, love, and self-discipline that Paul passed on to him through the laying on of hands. This wasn’t a transfer of magical powers but sharing the gift of God’s spirit the way we still do when we baptize children, confirm young people, and ordain new pastors. Paul warns that following the way of Jesus will not be easy, comfortable, or profitable. It may involve suffering. But we need not be afraid or ashamed, for our Savior Christ Jesus has abolished death and brought new life to light in our dark and dangerous world. Jesus has done all this through the gospel he lived and taught and gave us by his grace as a gift.
On October 30 we’ll celebrate Reformation Sunday and the particular gifts we offer the church and the world as Lutherans. “Lutheran” was originally a derogatory name, just like “Christian” was first used as a slur. Martin Luther didn’t invent a new church to be named after him. He called his followers “evangelicals”, as Lutherans are still called in Germany. Evangelical, comes from the original Greek word meaning gospel or good news. Following the teaching of St. Paul, our Lutheran faith is focused on sharing the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, given to all of us and all the world by God’s grace as a free and undeserved gift.
Like St. Paul, Timothy, Martin Luther and all who have followed the way of Jesus, we too have been made heralds to proclaim this good news, apostles sent to share this gospel and teachers to guide others by our loving example. This is not an obligation laid on us, but a gift given to us by God’s grace shown in Jesus Christ, for us to share as freely and generously as God has given the gift of the gospel to us. This month remember the gift of the gospel Jesus gives us and share it with grace.
Hoping to see you every Sunday. Pastor Bruce +