Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Common Wealth (Deuteronomy 15:7–11)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Friday, 31 March 2017

Week 5: Creation—Not for Sale

Week 5, Day 6

The Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

To teach, baptise and nurture new believers

To respond to human need by loving service

To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Common Wealth (Deuteronomy 15:7–11)

Thabo Makgoba, Anglican, South Africa

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”

The gospel is at its heart a revelation of the nature and character of God and its narrative conveys how God has expressed God’s loving power through Jesus. The proclamation of God’s redemptive action in Jesus is often understood as arising from God’s love for humanity and subsequent intention to save us. But while the biblical witness emphasizes God’s concern for humanity, this can only be adequately understood in relation to God’s fundamental commitment to the entire created order. God’s covenantal relationship with humanity is part of a broader covenantal relationship with the whole of creation.

God’s relationship with creation is an expression and reflection of the dynamic, self-giving relationship of love that exists among the persons of the Trinity. God’s goal is that the community of creatures should share in the freedom, rest and joy that characterize divine life, a goal expressed in the concept of shalom. The gracious conditions under which we live are summarized in the creeds—we not only believe in but relate to God the Father as Creator of all, to Jesus Christ, who lived in history on earth, suffering and dying in order to redeem us, and to God the Holy Spirit, who brings new life, the new creation within our reach.

When we state Creation—Not for Sale it must be in the context of a God-centered world in which God is involved in all our human endeavors: in politics, economics, technology, the sciences—in all of society. God’s grace is present in creation and always embraces us. In practical terms, this requires that we respond to the common wealth that God has gifted to us in creation by sharing it; that we become gracious in the use of our time, our talents, our money and our possessions. In this way we can realistically address the challenge of making the Christ of yesterday the Christ of today and ourselves as Christians the stewards of the whole of God’s creation.

“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.”