Presbyterians Today

SEP-OCT 2016

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38 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 | P r e s by te r i a n s To d ay E very baptized Christian enters the church through the font of reconciliation, a sign of our union with Christ Jesus and one another. When we pass through the waters of baptism to become members of Ch Christ's body, we are immersed in i Christ's body, we are immersed in t' Christ's body, we are immersed in b Christ's body, we are immersed in d Christ's body, we are immersed in i Christ's body, we are immersed in d Christ's body, we are immersed in i Christ's body, we are immersed in the life, death, and resurrection of the one who was sent to reconcile the world to God. Washed in Christ's grace and anointed by the Holy Spirit, we bear the mark of God's reconciling love and are called to be ministers of reconciliation in Jesus' name (2 Cor. 5:18–20). In an ordinary service of worship, this ministry of reconciliation finds expression in a variety of ways: v The gathering of Christ's body for worship in the church is intended to be a sign of the new and recon- ciled community God has called us to be (or become, by God's grace). v The confession of sin and declara- tion of forgiveness are, together, an act of reconciliation with God and one another through the grace of Jesus Christ. v The sharing of Christ's peace—par- ticularly after the confession and pardon—is meant to be more than a friendly greeting, but a radical gesture of reconciliation. v Th The proclamation of the gospel is, l The proclamation of the gospel is, i The proclamation of the gospel is, f The proclamation of the gospel is, h The proclamation of the gospel is, l The proclamation of the gospel is, i The proclamation of the gospel is, at its heart, a message of reconcili- ation: that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:38–39) and that Christ has broken down the dividing walls that separate us from one another (Eph. 2:13–14). v The prayers of intercessions are, essentially, about reconciling the church and the world with God's purpose—that God's will be done, "on earth as it is in heaven." v The sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist are, among other things, signs and seals of reconciliation in Christ's body—where we are joined to Christ and one another, and granted a foretaste of the heavenly banquet where all will be one in Christ. v The sending of Christ's body for service in the world is for the sake of sharing the good news of God's reconciling love and continuing Jesus' ministry of reconciliation. When we are attentive to these dynamics, every Service for the Lord's Day bears witness to the d' Lord's Day bears witness to the D Lord's Day bears witness to the b Lord's Day bears witness to the i Lord's Day bears witness to the h Lord's Day bears witness to the message of reconciliation God has entrusted to us. However, particular events in a church, the world, and the local com- munity may call for special services of reconciliation. In the wake of acts of violence, denials of justice, bitter debates, or contested decisions, it is fitting for us as Christians to seek the abiding presence and transform- ing power of the Lord. Here some tips for planning a reconciliation service: Gather together for worship. Join as one body around the promise of the gospel, expressed in sentences of Scripture, and through the hymns and other songs of our faith, which help to bind us together in harmony. Practice lament, confes- sion, and forgiveness. Speak the hard truths in the liturgy, naming conflict and giving voice to disap- pointment and anger. When we avoid or suppress the subjects of sin and suffering, we do further damage to our relationships with God and one another. Washed in Immersed in the reconciling work of Christ BY DAVID GAMBRELL Grace

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