I am beginning to see how important self definitions are. What do we perceive ourselves to be and how do we perceive the things that we do. We are wrestling with that self awareness and self definition as a church in some respects. Are we about church planting and helping other partner churches grow or are we about a sort of mission by osmosis. Witness, Mercy and Life Together was the means of trying to tie together all that we believe that we are and should be.
I was at St. Louis for the installation of Matthew Harrison as the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod for his second term. The installation of was held at a place that I helped raise money for back in the day. At the time I attended the Seminary we worshipped in an old section of the campus that is now a lecture hall. The seminary community finally came to the conclusion that worship was the center of it’s life and needed to be emphasized. Hence the seminary website says –
“The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, located in the center of the Seminary campus, reflects the Seminary community’s emphasis on worship as the central activity to its life and being. Since its dedication on November 15, 1992, the chapel has served as the site for more than 2,000 daily services and numerous special services.”
In the early days of the church the way witness mercy and life together worked itself out was an organic whole. Everything was melded together in such a way that the whole of life was given to God. This is a great self definition given by a man named Justin the apologist in the days after the Apostles.
“We who used magical arts have dedicated ourselves to the good and eternal God. We who loved the acquisition of wealth more than all else now bring what we have into a common stock and give to every one in need. We who hated and destroyed one another and on account of their different manners would not receive into our houses men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them. We pray for our enemies, we endeavor to persuade those who hate us unjustly to live conformably to the beautiful precepts of Christ, to the end that they may become partakers with us of the same joyful hope of a reward from God, the Ruler of all.” Justin