Beyond the Walls

serving othersPresiding bishop of the ELCA Elizabeth E. Eaton relates this story:

The wood frame structure of St. Mary’s Lutheran Church was a “place of worship and hope during the siege of Leningrad during WWII. But people were freezing and starving to death. There was no wood for heating or cooking. So the Lutherans looked at their beloved church and then looked at the suffering around them. Piece by piece they dismantled their building and gave it away for the life of the community” (Living Lutheran, July 2017, p. 50).

Giving away what is most precious to us in the Church to serve others is what being the Church in action is all about. We should never cling so tightly to our church building or our own history as a church body that we fail to meet the pressing needs of those around us.

Giving completely of ourselves is what we in the Church should continue to do. The Church is not to just be “ours”; it must be for all. Giving until it hurts is what Christ taught us, too, when he used his death on the wood beams of the cross to save a people starving for freedom from sin, death and the devil.

Christ gave his whole life, his whole self to us. He did not keep it for himself. We need to do the same in our life in the Church. Are there things that we could do to help the community around us in a way that would benefit all, but at a great sacrifice to ourselves? As much as it may pain us to think about initially, that kind of sacrifice may be exactly what Christ is asking us to do as a congregation in his name. And this is something we should not shy away from.

Open your eyes to the plight of people outside your church walls as well as within them. Be an example of great giving to your town. Be a blessing in a way that makes a difference to highlight the difference Christ has made in our lives.



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