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Archive for September 3rd, 2015

Today’s New Testament Reading, in the Daily Lectionary is Ephesians 3: 1-21.  The comment is on verse 6:

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

I was talking years ago with my friend and colleague, Pr. Lou Smith, about evangelism.  He said that when the discussion comes up in a church council meeting, how do we get more people to come to church, I say that I am amazed that anyone is here at all (!)  Yes, it is a mystery.  There is no program or tactic to bring people to Church, and more specifically bringing them to Christ.  Here is a good article about true evangelism, “How to Make Your Church Irresistible”.  The Apostle Paul uses the word “mystery” six times in Ephesians, more than any book in the New Testament.  “…mystery…cannot be unravelled or understood by human ingenuity or study. It is not something that is mysterious but rather a revealed secret to be understood by all believing people and not just a few elite” (Ephesians:  An Exegetical Commentary, by Harold W Hoehner).  Maybe Lou was amazed because people in Church was not the result of his nor the Church Council’s doing, but the Lord’s work.  (Lou knew that! ) Yet we can participate in the divine joy of salvation by witnessing to Christ when asked (see 1 Peter 3:15).  As Pr. Treptow wrote in his article cited above:

The ascended Lord commissioned us, not as his salespeople charged with “getting people to say yes,” but as his witnesses. We simply speak the good news Jesus has given us to proclaim. The results of that preaching belong to the Lord. The Spirit creates faith when and where it pleases him.

And as Gregory the Great wrote millennia ago:

“You…who live in the Tabernacle of the Lord, that is, in the Holy Church, if you cannot fill up the goblets with the teachings of holy wisdom, as well then as you can, as far as the divine bounty has endowed you, give to your neighbors spoonfuls of the good word!” 

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“You… who live in the Tabernacle of the Lord, that is, in the Holy Church, if you cannot fill up the goblets with the teachings of holy wisdom, as well then as you can, as far as the divine bounty has endowed you, give to your neighbors spoonfuls of the good word!” Gregory the Great

Concordia and Koinonia

One of the great leaders in Europe at the close of the sixth century, Gregory served in both the secular and sacred arenas of his era. As mayor of Rome, he restored economic vitality to his native city, which had been weakened by enemy invasions, pillage, and plague. After he sold his extensive properties and donated the proceeds to help the poor, he entered into full-time service in the Church. On September 3,590 A.D., Gregory was elected to lead the church in Rome. As Bishop of Rome he oversaw changes and growth in the areas of church music and liturgical development, missionary outreach to northern Europe, and the establishment of a church-year calendar still used by many churches in the western World today. His book on pastoral care became a standard until the 20th century. (From The Lutheran Church-MIssouri Synod web-site, Commemoration Biographies)

Reflection:  Bishop Gregory was the first Bishop of Rome, pope to call…

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