In the Holy Gospel for this weekend, as we celebrate the merger of St. John Lutheran Church of Summerfield with Hope Lutheran Church of The Villages we hear a portion of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” In Jesus’ words we hear the heart of God interpret the Commandments that God gave his dear children on Mount Sinai as God was forging them into a community that would be God’s presence before the nations in the world.
Jesus helps us understand that the fifth commandment, “You shall not commit murder” is about so much more than simply taking another’s physical life… it is about enhancing life and about bringing wholeness and unity to all of God’s children.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:23-24: “So when you are offering yours gifts at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
We can rightly offer our gifts and worship to God only when we are reconciled, at peace, and in unity with our sisters and brothers. We do that as a congregation of God’s children in a very visible way today as St. John and Hope are united. We do that as we are united in sharing the broken body and shed blood of our Lord with God’s children throughout creation.
Come Lord Jesus, give us life, make us whole, unite us, all your children, in your love.
Your servant in Christ,