“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11-12)
I love the way St. Paul ends his epistles. With the exception of Galatians, Paul ends every letter to every church with a loving, detailed and precise litany of personal greetings and prayers. He wants to be with them. He loves them, and that love bleeds from every stroke of his pen. Paul doesn’t just fire nuggets of spiritual counsel from far away; he lives with people. He doesn’t minister to them, he ministers with them. And there is a difference.
When John writes about the incarnation, that’s the language he uses as well. “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14). God lives with us. He makes His home with us, and gives us this life to live together at the foot of the cross of Jesus
As our family has started making a home here, it’s that sense of deep, authentic, open community that’s been the warmest welcome. It seeps from the stained glass, and falls lightly from every support beam in the Great Hall. Authentic life together in the eternal glow of Jesus’ empty tomb
What binds us together as brothers and sisters, as friends, and together as a church family isn’t what we have in common with each other. It’s not that we come to appreciate each other’s quirks or share the same hectic schedules, underlying fears and moments of joy. The air in this place is filled with the heaven-sent warmth of the Holy Spirit. And it’s palpable. A distant echo of the incarnation of Jesus, of Paul’s love for church in Colossae and Thessalonica and so on.
We thank you for welcoming us into community, and pray that as we grow in faith and in love for the Lord Jesus together as that community, that the love of God that passes all understanding will continue to bind us together in His name, and for His sake.
About the Author
Josh Hatcher is a devoted husband and father, hopeless wonder-junkie, and Senior Pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church – an open and caring, radically Christ-centered, deeply sacramental and sometimes eclectic ministry in the heart of Soulard.