Grace and Peace, Bethesda!

It’s a great month to be the church! On May 4th we will welcome our neighbors for Bingo and Star Wars-themed fun. The following weekend we will celebrate mothers and women who have nurtured our lives and faith. The choir and praise band will combine forces for a few numbers on that day. On May 19 we will receive new members and celebrate a handful of baptisms – what a day! Finally, Memorial Weekend will give us an opportunity to process from worship to our veteran’s memorial for the dedication of new plaques with nearly 100 names of Bethesda members past and present who have served our country in the armed forces.

Given these special occasions, as well as the church festivals of Pentecost (5/19) and Holy Trinity (5/26), it seemed good to me to start a new Sunday series on “The Family of God.” You may have come across churches actually named “Family of God Lutheran.” You may also have heard a contrary message from churches or pastors that would put distance between the concepts of “church” and “family.” It’s a complicated metaphor!

To begin with, we worship the God who has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even before we bring the church into the equation, God is a social relationship, a familial bond. That’s about as deep into trinitarian theology as I’m willing to go in a newsletter article!

Jesus the Son of God has brought us into right relationship with God. Jesus’ heavenly Father has become “Our Heavenly Father.” Jesus is our beloved brother. We have received the Holy Spirit of adoption who cries “Abba-Father!” We are no longer slaves to fear, but children of God.

Therefore, we have been made members of one family of God in Christ. The brother of my Brother Jesus is my brother! The Church (locally and globally) offers an opportunity to redeem our broken histories of family and Fatherhood.

I hope you will worship with us on May 19 and welcome these new members to our local family of God. As family, we have each other’s back. We wish the best for each other. And, yes, like any typical family, siblings in Christ will occasionally experience conflict. But, thanks be to God, we have eternal resources for reconciliation through Christ and His mercy!

Shalom, Pastor Tom