Peace be with you fellow disciples of St. John’s!

Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Life is one big journey. It takes a lifetime to experience and to grow to discover and to learn all that life has to offer. Maybe that should read all that God has to offer. On our journey through life we see many things. We learn many things and experience many things and yet we may never understand all to these things. When we were babies we learned to crawl we learned to walk and to talk and to imitate others. When we grew older we started school and we learned to read and to write and to do many other things as well. As we grew even older we learned and discovered many skills and talents to further continue life’s journey. On our journey with God we learned right from wrong , good and bad , better or worse , happy and sad and even hellfire and brimstone, for some of us older church goers , and yet , hopefully we have learned most importantly , that God loves each and every one of us and that through His son Jesus Christ’s life and death on the cross and the resurrection we shall not perish and receive eternal life everlasting with him in Paradise. We are saved by that faith , not good works , and we must live out our faith by loving and caring for their needs. This faith is believing that by God’s grace we are saved. God’s grace is Christ , given as a free gift is grace that forgives , that loves , that repairs what is broken , grace that renews and that redeems. It is a gift that helps us to trust in God’s goodness and promises.

This journey with God is not a journey we make alone but takes place in the cherished company of family, friends, and mentors and in the sacred company of His Holy Spirit that is in the church. Synod by the way means to walk together on the way! May we follow Jesus, the Way; and do His work, giving glory and finishing the work that is ours to do.

Paul wrote that God “allots to each one” gifts of the Spirit for the common good of the community and the whole world. Luther said we are called and installed by Baptism as the priesthood of all believers. We are servant leaders and have received special gifts for service. Each and every one of us has skills and passions that are our unique voices within our community. Our voices mix with the voices of others to create a chorus of words and deeds that glorify God by growing love and justice in the world becoming His disciples. You may not think you have any spiritual gifts but of coarse you do because God has given gifts to every single one of us. We all belong to one God and we all bring something to the table because He has given you gifts and abilities to bring to the table. By the grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ, each of us can contribute to the common good in Big and Small ways. Whatever and wherever we share these gifts the Lord is at work in and through us. Being a Disciple is more than being a member or follower of Jesus. It is his great commission to go into all the world and love one another and teach , and do His work. Discipleship is a difficult word and may threaten some of us because it means becoming more involved and doing things that make us feel nervous and intimidated and to move out of our comfort zone is asking a lot but God has and is calling us to do His work and we are never alone. He is always there. Jesus finds and holds on to us just as he held on to those first disciples. Life may be a journey but our journey with God is the most important journey we may ever take ! May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep you In Christ Jesus, Amen.

~ Ron Johnson

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