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“I ask on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one."    John 17:20-21      

 

                 Jesus’ prayer is being answered! Lutherans and Catholics together are experiencing the power of the gospel to overcome divisions of the past and to envision a shared future centered on God’s mission. Many of you were blessed to participate in our collaboration with the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, “To the Ends of the Earth: A Journey of Renewal with

The Saint John’s Bible

: From Conflict to Communion.” Through Bible study and prayer, art and music, worship and conversation it became clear that our communities were becoming a community. Thanks be to God! How is it happening? We gathered together around God’s Word in worship and committed ourselves to a shared mission for the sake of the world.

 

Gathering: All are welcome!

My heart was stirred to study and worship together with the Sisters of the Monastery, ELCA Bishop Tom Aitken and Catholic Diocese of Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba, priests from the Diocese, pastors and lay members of Lutheran congregations, faculty and students of the College of St. Scholastica.

 

Word and worship: “Listening to the Word of God in Scripture”

Our daily sessions consisted of Biblical exposition of key ecumenical texts by Lutheran and Catholic scholars, followed by viewing illuminations of these same texts in

The Saint John’s Bible. We followed a process of visio divina

, contemplating how these Bible passages connect to our lives today. We then considered the theological impact of the Bible on the ecumenical consensus which overturns the condemnations of earlier Catholic/Lutheran theology. It is moving to hear how this consensus is being lived out in our communities.

You could feel the movement of the Holy Spirit as the Catholic Sisters shared their appreciation for the spiritual contribution of Martin Luther, and Lutheran theologians lifted up Pope Francis for his role in reformation. We were finding our unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

In an evening service of Common Prayer we thanked God for the gospel carried by both churches, confessed our past divisions, and committed ourselves to a future of shared mission. Our Community Worship Service on the final evening was a feast of Word, reflection, prayer and music, featuring illuminations from

The Saint John’s Bible.

 

Commitment: “To the Ends of the Earth!”

The ecumenical document From Conflict to Communion articulates imperatives for future growth:

Always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division

Let ourselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with the other

Commit ourselves to seek visible unity

Jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time

Witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world

 

What a beautiful curriculum of renewal as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month!

 

Blessings to all,

Pastor Dave

 

 
For more information about Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd please contact us at 218-525-1922.
We are located at 1325 N. 45th Ave. E. Duluth, MN  55804
 (corner of 45th Ave. E. and Colorado St.)  Map it!