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Saturday, January 30, 2010

From Pastor’s Annual Report to the Voters’ Assembly

“I believe in . . . the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints. . .”

The Apostles’ Creed has us confessing that we believe in the Church.   It is not by our knowledge, observation and reason that we come to understand and appreciate what Church is.  It is by faith.

The Church is among a number of subjects that we must appreciate by faith, not by sight.  We don’t see God, we believe in God.  We don’t see heaven (yet), we believe that there’s a heaven.  By means of our sight and touch and taste, there is only a morsel of bread and a sip of wine in communion; without faith, we have no understanding of the presence of Christ’s body and blood and our forgiveness thereby.

We and all humanity have had our eyes darkened by sin so we cannot see what is really real.  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2).  When the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, He also enlightens us with His gifts.  With His help we begin to see as God sees.  We believe what God says.

God says the Church is holy, a communion of saints.  God sees His people washed in the blood of Jesus (Revelation 7:14), now clean, innocent and ready for Him. (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Don’t be discouraged by what you see with your eyes and experience in this sin darkened world.  Be encouraged by what the Lord tells you He sees.

What we often see is a church that is:

· Filled with sinners – arguing, gossiping, doubting, disappointing. . . in short, sinning.

· Fractured into denominations,  parties and cliques.

· becoming less and less effective, more and more outdated, unpopular, disrespected and unwanted.

By faith, believe what God sees:

· He says to you and your fellow believers, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

· He says to you and to your fellow believers, “Forgive as you have been forgiven.” (Ephesians 4:32).

· He says to you, “Where I am, there I want you to be”  (John 14:3).

Dear good and gracious heavenly Father, You have called us out of darkness into your marvelous light.  Enlighten our eyes that we may see and believe what you have taught us is real and true.  Bless the ongoing work of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg that in spite of our sins, others may see you through us, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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