Pastor’s Column for February 2020 Epistle
Dear Friends in Christ,
I said, in my sermon January 19, that I have never before so appreciated the readings from First Corinthians during the Season after Epiphany as I have this year. I want to unpack that a little in my February column. First Corinthians is a letter written by Paul to the Church in Corinth, a church he founded that needs help. First Corinthians offers a window on a congregation and preacher trying to sort out the real-life implications of the gospel. Does that sound familiar? It should, because that is the work we go about day in and day out at Trinity Lutheran in Nampa, Idaho. Like those early Christians, we ask questions like, how should Christians live in a culture at odds with their confession of faith? What commitments and practices enable Christians to honor one another (and their neighbors) in the midst of differences of opinion? The letter explores themes of Christian unity, ethics, and hope. Those are themes we wrestle with today. Yes, there are parts of Paul’s letters that are certainly specific to his context, but it is remarkable how relevant his words still are today. I told our new member inquiry class, as we set out to read parts of the Augsburg Confession, that I believe that 500-year-old document penned by Martin Luther’s friend Philip Melanchthon is still incredibly relevant as well. I am thankful for all of the new writers and thinkers I encounter in a year as your pastor, people whose contexts are similar to my own, but I also give thanks for old and ancient writings which connect us to the saints who have died. Please join me in reading and studying First Corinthians. Themes like the Body of Christ, Christian community, former life contrasted with the new, love, the resurrection, and spiritual gifts are part of your individual lives as followers of Jesus and part of our life as the congregation that is Trinity Lutheran, Nampa.