Have You Heard?

Have You Heard?

Have you heard?  On October 31st, Lutheran Christianity will turn 500!  I just thought there might be one or two people in our synod who hadn’t heard this yet, and wanted to be sure we got the word out. The running joke at the Conference of Bishop’s Meeting in Chicago a few weeks ago was, “Is there anything happening this month???” Of course, a commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation isn’t only about “us Lutherans.” This is a moment to commemorate a moment in history that has changed everything, for everyone, for all time. The world is different because of the reforms that were begun with a simple invitation to attend a discussion of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church of the 1500’s.

In the past week, I have been blessed to participate in two very meaningful Services of Common Prayer commemorating this anniversary. The liturgies for these services were drawn in part from “From Conflict to Communion,” a document which offers historical perspectives and tangible hope for greater cooperation between the Roman Catholic Church and the worldwide Lutheran Communion. These services were led and attended by clergy and people from a variety of faith traditions, and concentrated on prayers and personal witness that our two churches might offer a prophetic witness the hope expressed by Jesus on the night before his crucifixion:

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:20-23

We have yet another service to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this Sunday afternoon at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (see the announcement in this newsletter) – I look forward to being a part of this service and pray with Christ that an outcome of our time together — indeed all of our worship will be — “…that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

I pray our marking this Anniversary be a moment for our witness and work in sharing the Gospel to reach those who have yet to hear, believe, trust and live the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ for the whole world, no exceptions.

A blessed Anniversary!
Bp. Mark

PS – I will be on one month of sabbatical beginning Monday, November 6th and ending Saturday, December 2nd. I ask for your prayers as I take this third month of my sabbatical, which was begun with two months away last summer. Please contact Pr. Katy Grindberg in the Synod Office if you have needs during my time away, as I will not be checking e-mails and will not have my cell phone with me. I will be spending this time learning more about immigration issues and ministries on the border in southern California. Thank you for this time away. God’s Peace be with you

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