Metro D.C. Synod Assembly 2018 Theme “Connecting – Up In Out” is in full swing as people introduce themselves to one another, friends are hugging, and colleagues are greeting as we gather at Lord of Life Lutheran Church – Fairfax Campus. Shortly we will begin worship accompanied with music in both Spanish and English. Our offering today is designated to the synod’s New Connection Campaign and Building Puentes Initiative.
Bishop Richard H. Graham brings us a sermon of ‘WELCOME’ to our assembly today. Accompanied by scriptures that point to inclusivity and welcome, it is Jesus that offers the most radical of ‘welcomes’ — “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” The Bishop reminds us that it is hard to think of a more countercultural message than ‘welcome‘ in our world day.
We as the church are not used to ‘otherness’ — our larger world supports this. Yet we are called to be a gathering of diverse people, he comments. Our churches are places where we greet and learn not because it’s natural but because it’s what Jesus calls us to and what Jesus blesses. We welcome and invite others to join us – knowing they will change us.
To conclude, Bishop Graham recalled his time last week marching in the local Pride Parade and how proud he was to be apart of it — albeit quirky! “We do it as a Lutheran community to show the thousands that we welcome ALL and ANYONE to our faith communities. The Bishop’s invitation and encouraging challenge of WELCOME will guide our time together today, sent by a gracious Spirit to CONNECT UP, IN, and OUT! Amen!