Growing Christ-centered relationships in our communities through love and service.
If you are new to the Northwest Indiana area, or if you are looking for a new place to worship, we invite you to make Griffith Lutheran Church your new church home.
Weekly worship opportunities:
Sunday Morning Worship 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Sunday School for All Ages 9:45 a.m. (Sept. through May, adults meet year-round)
All ages explore the same Scripture during the Sunday school hour in age-appropriate classes,
fostering family discussion so that they may grow stronger in their faith together.
A Few Words from Pastor Scales...
August 9th, 2015
1 Kings 19: 9-18; psalm 34: 1-8; Ephesians 4: 25-5:2; John 6: 35, 41-51
What is significant in the gospel of John, when Jesus says that when we believe in him we will have eternal life, in the book of John, Jesus means beginning right now. Eternal life is now, not just after we die. So often, we think of eternal life only as life beyond death. But in the gospel of John, when Jesus speaks, he is telling us that as believers we are now living in his kingdom, in eternal life.
Now, Jesus does not tell us that to make us feel good and safe. He tells us that to get us working, moving, sharing in order to build up the kingdom in the world, a kingdom of love, of justice, of forgiveness. God’s kingdom is the kingdom we live in, that we were baptized in and this is the kingdom we are to bring into our world as baptized believers.
And that is where Paul’s letter to the Ephesians comes in. And what is significant about this letter, most manuscripts do not have it as a letter to the Ephesians, but to “all the saints who are faithful.” So scholars really think this letter was to the whole Christian church, probably written late in the first century. The particular reading we had for today outlines how we are to live out Christ’s calling as believers and in so doing bring in and build up the kingdom of God while we are here on this earth.
Here is what Paul’s letter says in how we are to bring God’s kingdom into our world: Do not lie, but speak the truth.
You can be angry, but do not let it make you do something you wish you hadn’t and do not harbor your anger over night.
Do not steal, but do honest work instead, and when you do, give some of what you haveto those who are in need.
Do not talk badly about people, but let your words give grace to those who hear. (That is my favorite).
Put away your bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander and malice, instead be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, --as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Lastly, be imitators of God; live as Christ loved us and in fact gave himself up for us.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if just Christians in the town of Griffith lived this way or Christians on one block lived this way. What if Christian politicians vowed to speak and live this way, especially “Do not talk badly about people, but let your words give grace to those who hear?” You know my mother told me if I could not say something good about someone, then do not say anything at all. I’m still working on it.
God made our world perfect, but something happened soon thereafter and it was not perfect anymore. God tried through commandments, judges, prophets and kings to help the world live as it was attended when it was created, but that wasn’t happening.
This is when God sent Jesus, to save us from our sins, since we had shown we were not able to keep ourselves from sinning even with all the commandments that had been given us. We needed a major intervention other than sacrifices for our sins at a temple. So God sent Jesus as the final sacrifice to save us from our sins. But not only did Jesus save us, he taught us how tobring in and build up God’s kingdom here on this earth, through God’s love, kindness and forgiveness. Salvation was one thing, but it was not the only thing Jesus gave to us. God wanted us to experience what God intended, that is, what it is like to be made in God’s image, what it is like for God’s love to be our love, for God’s forgiveness to be our forgiveness, for God’s justice to be our justice.
A few days ago, I was with a good friend. We both had errands to do, so decided to do them together. In the course of the morning, she said something that made me furiously angry. But you know what popped in my head before I reacted? “Let your words give grace to those who hear.” That little moment was a breaking-in of God’s kingdom. That moment was a moment where I experienced God’s love and forgiveness as my love and forgiveness for my friend.
As baptized believers in Christ, we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked by the cross of Christ forever. We do not walk alone; we do not think in isolation. We are given opportunities through the Holy Spirit, day after day to live in and bring in God’s kingdom of love, forgiveness and justice into our world. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me has eternal life. He did not say, “Will have”. We live now in eternal life, in God’s kingdom and the more we are attuned to the Holy Spirit within our lives, the more we will consciously live in as well as bring in God’s love, forgiveness and justice into our world.