The mission of our congregation is quite simply stated: Share God’s Love. God, in and through Jesus Christ has, without doubt, loved us to death. Each breath, heartbeat, and our daily bread are given to us in love. Our reconciliation with God is a gift of love. Christ commands us to love others and the creation as we have been loved – without restraint or rules. That is pretty simply stated too. The difficulty is in the doing, isn’t it?
Loving others unconditionally is hard. First, it is hard to love others when I’m so busy loving myself and what is mine. I don’t have the time or the energy to focus on someone else, especially if I don’t even know them. Second, the songs on the radio and the latest Netflix production continue to teach me that love is a feeling; a heart-warming rush of emotion that will inevitably end with a “somebody-done-somebody-wrong” song.
The truth of the matter is that love is what we have been given and we are called, cajoled, commanded to share that love others – even before we get to know them. Think of Jesus. Before Jesus ever met the leper and healed; before he ever talked with Zacchaeus up in the tree; before he encountered any of the wayward people who became his disciples; before he announced in his dying, “Father forgive them…” he loved them. His disposition toward every bird, rock, loaf of bread and person he encountered was love. Even though he hadn’t met you, he already loved you.
For more than a year now, we have been working to meaningfully proclaim our love for any and all we meet, just like Jesus. The reason we do this is because the Church at large, and we in particular, have not always shared God’s love with people who desperately needed to be loved by God and God’s people. Instead of loving people before we met them, we all too often judged them before we met them – and then excluded them from the beautiful community God desires to build here in this community.
Below is a statement developed by a team of dedicated members, shaped by input from people who offered critique, discussed by members who came to forums, reviewed and revised by the Council that we will work to adopt as a clear and concise declaration that we plan to live out Christ’s command to love – even before we meet someone. It is a declaration for those who search for God’s love and it is a means of holding us accountable to be who we say we are. If you have not already done so, please take the survey of support that was sent out this week.
Pax Christi, Pastor Tim Olson
STATEMENT OF INCLUSION & WELCOME – HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
Grace, peace, and welcome to you in the name of the blessed, Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We are people simultaneously faithful and afraid; broken and redeemed; joyful and struggling to keep it together. Together, we strive to share God’s love by loving our neighbors and loving creation. Even though we don’t know you yet, we already love you.
You are loved. We believe you are a beloved child of God created in God’s image.
You are loved. We believe Jesus loves you and taught us, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
You are loved. Your race, gender identity, mental or physical ability, sexual orientation, marital status, financial situation, social standing, education, cultural background, immigration status, or any other category or label cannot separate you from the love of God, nor keep you from being what God called you to be.
You are loved. No matter where you are on your faith journey, no matter the questions you bring, no matter the doubts or struggles you bear, there is a place for you here to ask, seek, and share.
You are invited. We strive to create a safe, inclusive, and affirming environment where all are invited, and each is accepted and embraced. We invite you to receive and share God’s love as you are, for who you are. – The People of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church