Jesus modeled a way of life, standing FOR and AGAINST things. Jesus stood FOR healing, hope, inclusion, sharing, joy, life, community. He stood AGAINST oppression, torture, exclusion, hatred, greed, shame, violence. We are following in his way.
In 1517, Martin Luther's emphasis upon God's grace put him at odds with the church. At first he stood alone, but people who found liberation and access to God through his speaking, teaching, and writing formed a movement called the Protestant Reformation, which protested the church's stranglehold on God's free gifts of grace. As Lutherans, we continue to emphasize God's grace for all people and to be living examples of graciousness and forgiveness in the world.
The whole Bible tells the story of God's redeeming love for people. The grace revealed in the Bible is the guide for our daily lives. We struggle with texts of terror, question God's wrath, and seek faithful interpretation as we study the ancient texts that have given rise to our faith. We read through the eyes of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace of God that he made real. Our goal is not the "right interpretation" but a "responsible reading" that allows God to speak to us here and now. A person's devotional reading and life experience, the tradition of the Church, historical context, and the literary value of the books and letters collected in the Bible all are valued here.
The church is the place we learn and practice being Christian, Lutheran, and Biblical. We practice hospitality, service, forgiveness, and grace until the time we get them right. And we do it together. We look and work toward the day when the church is the wellspring of hope, joy, healing, and action for the whole community, not just those who come through the doors.
The church follows Jesus on his way. When he lived, he sought the outcast, the downtrodden, the poor and the hopeless. The doors of his church are open to all people without judgment, criticism, or demand. The gifts of God are free and are for all people. We seek to be as inclusive as Jesus himself, loving those who come to us and seeking out the broken and downtrodden wherever they are. We are a rainbow church, a sanctuary, and a place of healing and hope.
For an additional, quick introduction to other Lutheran themes, click here.