The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is placing a renewed emphasis on the priorities of the Christian Church:
Witness, Mercy and Life Together. Here at Bethlehem we are doing the same in all of our ministries. Where the Holy Trinity is present and received in faith, there must be witness, mercy, and life together. These three reflect God’s very being as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, and encompass His holy and gracious will for all in Christ Jesus, namely,
that all come to believe in and bear witness to Christ, reflect divine compassion, and live together in forgiveness, love and joy in the Church.
Witness, Mercy, Life Together describes what the Church does in this world while living under the shadow of Jesus’ cross.
The Word and the Sacraments bear witness to Jesus Christ (I John 5:7-8). The “sent ones”, such as John the Baptist and the apostles, testified to Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:7, 29). We as individual Christians also bear witness to Jesus today
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus showed compassion on people in need (Mark 6:34). Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). When Jesus saw people hungry or sick, He fed and healed them and even raised them from the dead. Jesus served and had mercy on those in need.
Just before He was handed over to be crucified, Jesus prayed that the Church might be one (John 17:11, 21, 23). Jesus desires His church to have fellowship, or life together, as one people before His Father, just as He and the Father are one. Indeed, by the Spirit’s power through the Word, God has called us into the fellowship of His Son (I Corinthians 1:9).
From the Gospels, we see that Jesus’ work is to bear witness, to show mercy, and to share His divine life together with His people. In a similar way, the Church, as the Bride of Christ, engages in Witness, Mercy, Life Together.
We as members pray that Bethlehem will be motivated and empowered by the blessed Gospel of free forgiveness in Jesus, that we live ever more into what we are in Christ, bearing witness to Him, being merciful to all, and living together in love.
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