Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

God in Community (Romans 8:9–17)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Monday, 10 April 2017

Week 1: The Mission of God

The second Anglican-Lutheran Lenten Reflections of this collection continue our Holy Week journey.

week 1, day 2 | Lenten Reflection 41

“The Freedom of a Christian (1520),” Martin Luther

Just as our neighbour is in need and lacks that in which we abound, so we were in need before God and lacked his mercy. Hence, as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbour through our body and its works, and each should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians.

God in Community (Romans 8:9–17)

Rospita Siahaan, Lutheran, Indonesia

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.

When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. When I was a doctoral student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong, I was one of sixteen students who were accepted for a study trip to Israel in June 2013. I was so sure that I would have a special encounter with Jesus there. Seeing the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee and many other holy sites and praying there was marvelous; yet, I did not feel what I had been longing for. Until the last day, no special feeling, no extraordinary encounter with the Divine.

While waiting for the flight to Hong Kong we had dinner at Tel Aviv airport. Two students from Hong Kong and I agreed to eat typical Israeli food: falafel and hummus. We ordered them together with soup. As we were carrying our food to our table, I asked my friends which was the falafel and which the hummus. We burst out laughing because we did not recognize the dishes. A man walking by stopped and told us which was the hummus, but it turned out that there were no falafels. We were very disappointed because it seemed that the seller had tried to fool us.

Our new friend accompanied us back to the vendor. He showed him our receipt, saw to it that we were given falafels and then left. We finally had our falafels and ate them with abundant happiness, not because of the taste, but because we had understood what it means to meet Christ in your neighbor. We did not know this man—not even his name. Probably he has forgotten us but we have not and will not forget him. Where do we meet God? We meet God in our community with others, beyond the boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, religion and denomination. Where is God?

God is in community with us, because we are children of God: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Rom 8:14).

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”