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Posts Tagged ‘Mercy’

Keeping Mercy & Life Together Together

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

  I recently had the privilege of attending “In the World for Good”, a conference on Urban Ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN. The keynote speaker was Dr. John Nunes, the recently appointed Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University. I’d like to offer a few reflections on something Nunes highlighted in his presentation, namely, the connection between mercy and life together. It is easy for us to separate mercy and life together. On the one hand, we know the importance of showing mercy, but what’s often missing is any real desire to do life together.   More…

Toward an Apologetic of Mercy, Part 2

Click here for part 1 of Toward an Apologetic of Mercy Our secular, materialistic society (the zeitgeist) is remarkably similar to that of Roman paganism.  Today the tendency is to live within and for one’s self.  Just look at the top-selling books at your local Barnes and Noble, even the Christian shelves are stocked with titles such as, “Your Best Life Now.”  This is nothing other than a new monasticism.  Rather than retreating into the monastery where imaginary good works were accomplished in order to improve one’s own spiritual edification and salvation, Christians today retreat to an umbilical monastery and care for themselves   More…

Toward an Apologetic of Mercy, Part 1

Apologia and Diakonia.  Two Biblical Greek words that seem to have nothing in common with each other.  And yet, they have increasingly become a part of Christian vocabulary, and for good reason.  Apologia, loosely defined, is defending the faith, apologetics.  Diakonia (or mercy), broadly speaking, is the Church’s work of mercy in body and soul. When it comes to apologetics, many of the arguments and debates are familiar: How can a loving God allow pain and suffering?  Did Jesus of Nazareth really rise from the dead?  Are the New Testament Documents historically reliable? And so forth. These questions come from   More…

Steadfast in the City– “Mercy or Ulterior Motives”

My friend and brother in the ministry, Matt Lorfeld, recently wrote a short, marvelous post on his church’s blog about the nature of mercy work and its possible “ulterior motives.” As a pastor who spends most of his time with what is generally called mission and evangelism work with the homeless and very poor, I know the difficulty in speaking on the topic of mercy. Mercy is not the Gospel. Mercy, though it attends to physical needs, does not save anyone. Mercy to the poor is the church in action in one of its forms, but to think that showing   More…

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“A Church without Chicken”: Comments on Marcus Borg’s Lecture Notes

A month ago a well-known Biblical scholar, Marcus Borg gave two lectures at Lexington Presbyterian, “Lex Pres”, here in Lexington,Virginia. Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute.  Lex Pres is one of the historic churches in our fair city.    A former member (a not-so-retired, 83 year old, Presbyterian pastor with LCMS sensibilities, now serving an ELCA congregation) told me that many professors are members. Its claim to fame is that one of its members was none other than VMI Professor, later General, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.    I did not attend the lectures but my wife was   More…

Steadfast on Campus — Short Term Mission Trips

April 19th, 2012 2 comments

The Rev. Joshua Gale wrote a fine article here on BJS in response to the discussion on short-term mission trips.  He wrote from the perspective of one who received help from a group of college students who were on spring break.  I’m writing from the perspective of the pastor who was with those students. First, just to clarify, our spring break trips are not intended to be “mission trips” in what we would regard as Lutheran mission work.  Lutheran missiology is long-term. This is why Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries (PLM) called Rev. Gale to serve as a missionary in Philly and   More…

“Acts of Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Sermon on Acts 4:32-35, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

April 15th, 2012 No comments

“Acts of Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Acts 4:32-35) As many of you may know, for the last couple of years our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has been organizing its work under the banner of “Witness, Mercy, Life Together.” You can see the symbol that is being used for this emphasis on your bulletin insert, encircled by those three terms. But this is more than a slogan in a marketing campaign. No, “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” really describes what the church does, whether on the national and international levels, as our synod operates, or on the local level, as, for instance, here   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: Our Life as Church” (A sermon on Acts, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: Our Life as Church” (Acts) “Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: This is the threefold emphasis now being used for our national church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” has also served well as the basis for our sermon series here at St. Matthew’s this Easter season. We have seen these themes emerge in our readings from the Book of Acts, for “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” can be said to characterize the life of the early church. But not only so, these aspects of the early church’s life are true for us as well. And   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: The Case of Stephen” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 6-7)

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: The Case of Stephen” (Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60) “Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: This is an emphasis right now for our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, since the work of our national church body can be gathered under these three headings. In connection with this, our synod is using the New Testament Greek words associated with these aspects of the church’s life: Martyria, “Witness,” the bold testimony that Christians give to their Savior, often in the face of hostility and persecution. Diakonia, literally “Service,” but especially, service in the form of works of “Mercy.” And third, Koinonia, “Fellowship,” or   More…

“Witnesses Worthy of the Name” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 5:29-42)

“Witnesses Worthy of the Name” (Acts 5:29-42) Today we begin a series of sermons based on readings from the Book of Acts. Recently many of you went through a several-month-long Bible study on the Book of Acts, and hopefully that will still be somewhat fresh in your mind. In any case, I think it will be timely and helpful for us to reflect on these glimpses of life in the early church, for in many ways the time of the early church, the conditions they faced, parallels the situation of the church in our day. They lived in a world   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: A Hymn (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

April 29th, 2011 10 comments

President Harrison’s “Emphasis for the Church” is summed up in three terms, “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Martyria, Diakonia, Koinonia are the related Greek terms). The President’s Office has set up a blog, wmlt.org, to carry forward the theme of “Witness, Mercy, Life Together: In Christ, for the Church and the World.” I’m going to be referring to this threefold emphasis in my preaching over the coming weeks, as I start a sermon series on the Book of Acts. So I thought it would be good to have a hymn to accompany the series. I’m aware that there are already a   More…