Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Partnership in Mission (Philippians 1:3–8)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Week 6: Freed to Serve—Diakonia 

Week 6, Day 4

Article VII, “The Augsburg Confession, 1530”

Likewise, they teach that one holy church will remain forever. The church is the assembly of saints in which the gospel is taught purely and the sacraments are administered rightly. And it is enough for the true unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. It is not necessary that human traditions, rites, or ceremonies instituted by human beings be alike everywhere. As Paul says [Eph. 4:5,6]: “One faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all…”

Partnership in Mission (Philippians 1:3–8)

Moti Daba Fufa, Lutheran, Ethiopia 

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

Paul kept in close contact with the Philippians, remembering them individually and collectively, as he earnestly prayed for them. In spite of the obvious peril to their lives, the Philippian believers were united with Paul in his missionary work, which he considered to be the work of God. For churches today, this work is an opportunity to show their partnership through Christ’s love, forgiveness and unity, and to bridge the gap that threatens to divide us in terms of theological and ethical issues. Let us see what partnership in missions means in essence:

Partnership implies recognizing that the relationship we have with one another reflects the relational character of the Triune God. We do not exist alone. As we confess in the Apostolic Creed, we are all part of the one Body of Jesus Christ. He called us collectively to participate in mission.

Partnership becomes concrete in our relationship with one another. Jesus is the sustainer of our good works. Although we are sinners, we try to set an example for our brothers and sisters in the world by living peacefully, being forgiving, witnessing, sharing the common good and loving our neighbor.

Partnership means globally walking together in total oneness until the last coming of Jesus Christ. During his last earthly ministry, Jesus prayed for unity among his sisters and brothers. Likewise, by God’s grace, we have to work hard to overcome traditional barriers and together to work toward cooperation.

In faithfulness to our common call, we must seek the full visible unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As we journey together we become confident in the gospel of Jesus Christ and, at the same time, partake in the grace of God. This opens our hearts and lives to our brothers and sisters in the same movement and leads to sharing in God’s love.

Finally, the text reminds us that to be partners in missions means to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and to commit ourselves to pray for others. That is why Paul has plenty of reasons to praise God.

“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.”