Welcome to Advent Lutheran Church
What We Do
Sunday worship: Holy Communion at 10am
Begins September 12th
Classes for 2 - 10th grades
Beginning September 19th.
Learn more about our work.
What Keeps Us Going
Our Loving God created this world.
The world is now fallen and the evidence of that is all around: sickness, war, injustice, abuse.
Yet the world is Redeemed from its fallenness by God's coming in Jesus Christ, God's son.
This redemption is only partial, however, until the Lord returns. In the meantime we grasp glimpses of the fully redeemed world when God's Word is preached and Sacraments are administered; when we love and care for each other; when we work for peace and justice.
Nobody likes to surrender. It’s a sign of weakness, loss, rejection; whether it is in battle, in divorce, or in loosing a political battle.
In this the 500th anniversary of Luther’s opening foray into Reformation (the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517) we think a lot about what Luther taught us. He taught us to surrender.
Not to surrender to the forces of corruption, misinformation and power in his Church (it was not all bad by any means, as we Protestants often depict it) – he sort of won that battle. Not that he won it the way he wanted to – what he really wanted was to reform the church from within, to have it be more tuned to the gospel message and the needs of the people, and to remain within it - for the church to remain in tact. The fracturing of the church that occurred when Luther was excommunicated in 1520, and after the Peace of Augsburg in 1585 (Luther was dead by then) left the various German principalities able to select whether they be Lutheran or Roman Catholic – Luther did NOT set our to do that. The church which divided around 1000 AD when East (Orthodox) and West (Roman) separated through mutual excommunication; was now further divided when West morphed into Protestant and Roman.
One thing central to Luther’s understanding of God is surrender. To surrender to God’s gift of faith given by the power of the Holy Spirit. To surrender to the unbelievable story of Jesus: the humble itinerate preacher whose band of outcasts ended up scattered with their leader executed; who believed he had risen; who believed they had a mission to the world to proclaim that God actually loved them all: the poor, the outcast, the non-pious, sinners.
While the church of Luther’s day taught people “the rules” on how to please God (and it was difficult indeed), Luther taught that God already loved them! While the church of his day taught the complications of a sacramentary system, Luther taught that Baptism welcomes us into God’s family without our doing anything; and that Holy Communion announces God’s gift of salvation to all.
In his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed in his Small Catechism, Martin Luther says:
"I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith. In the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it united with Jesus Christ in the one true faith."
For Luther, the Christian life was surrendering, passively receiving, God’s call, enlightenment, sanctification and faith. Faith isn’t something you have to develop on your own through rigorous religious practices, faith is a gift through the Spirit. Faith isn’t something you will be judged on – and perhaps because of too much doubt, you will be rejected. Faith is the result of surrendering to God.
At Easter we surrender to the faith God gives us that Jesus was indeed something of God come to us to bring us all back together. That we are reconciled to God, by God, and now live in peace. Easter is the Feast of God’s Victory and our surrender.
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