This morning I received an email from George Johnson, retired pastor and former director of the ALC Hunger Program (the predecessor to ELCA World Hunger). His thoughts were so provocative I felt they should have a broader audience. George asks some hard questions that I suspect will elicit a variety of responses. I suggest we have a dialog. Feel free to leave comments below. On to the nuggets:
+ Why do we Lutherans continually talk about the presence of Jesus in the sacraments but seldom talk about his presence in “the least of these?” Does one carry more grace than the other? for Lutherans? Why not say in our liturgy….”Come to the table and experience the presence of Jesus in the bread and wine, and then go out and experience the presence of Jesus in your neighbor.” Is that not more biblical?
+ When we say that ours is a ministry of Word and Sacrament are we focusing on a phrase that is easy to say without any responsibility on our part? Would it be just as good to sum up our ministry by saying…Word and Service?” When that is our calling and ministry then the world will sit up and listen. It worked for Jesus. Why not for his disciples?
+ I am constantly waiting for my Lutheran Church to talk as much about the poor as Jesus did. Not nearly as much is said in the scriptures about the sacraments as it said about bringing good news to the poor. We need not neglect grace in our proclaiming good news to the poor. Our pastors will notlikely do this unless they see and hear it from our bishops and churchleaders.
Let the conversation begin!