“…when God’s Son took on flesh, he truly and bodily took on, out of pure grace, our being, our nature, ourselves. This was the eternal counsel of the triune God. Now we are in him. Where he is, there we are too, in the incarnation, on the Cross, and in his resurrection. We belong to him because we are in him. That is why the scriptures call us the Body of Christ.”— from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I admit, I may sound like a broken record! But reading Life Together this time around has different meaning for me. A couple of weeks ago, I called Pastor Troy to share with him that I have been reading his copy of this book. He remembers reading it as a Seminarian in the early 70’s. We were both reminded of how a good book or The Good Book can speak to us in new and different ways at various points in our lives. It doesn’t mean that God has changed but it simply means that we hear God’s message to us in a new way.
This seems fitting as we begin a new year. So I want you to think old and new for a minute. Together, we are the body of Christ here at Bethesda Lutheran Church. This has meant different things over the years. For example, in the beginning of the congregation, all of the members were Danish. Bethesda was the landing place for many Danish families who first came to this area. Today, the body of Christ at Bethesda is more diverse. Not as diverse as our neighborhood but together we represent a larger collection of people with diverse heritages.
We come together at this particular place and time to continue to do Christ’s work in this neighborhood. This is ever evolving as the neighborhood is ever evolving. But what remains the same is that through the Holy Spirit we have been called together to be the body of Christ. We continue to gather to hear
scripture proclaimed, to sing our faith in both old and new ways, and to come to the table as beggars before God. We have all entered this body through the waters of our baptism and we will all receive the fulfillment of our baptismal journey. We will enter the communion of saints, when we take our final breath.
As we enter 2022, we are given the opportunity to listen again to what God is calling us to be and do. We have the opportunity to live out our baptismal identity as children of God. We have the possibilities that come from being the body of Christ here at Bethesda. Together, we listen for the Holy Spirit moving among and around us. Together, we look for the needs and the gifts of our community. Together, we recognize how Christ dwells in us and we in him. Together, we are more than we could be individually. Together, we will continue to be God’s people in this place.