Feb17MonFebruary 17, 2020 by Curtis Boehm
“Stewards of the Mysteries” (Pastor Curtis)
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Whenever I drive to the north side of Edmonton, I like to observe the construction of Edmonton’s youngest neighbourhood. Blatchford will be built on what was once the city center airport, and the City of Edmonton is going to great lengths to plan a community that will be exemplary and admirable. For example, a friend of mine has had a part in building the first geothermal “Energy Center” in Blatchford, which will distribute heat from the earth to hundreds of homes. I find this fascinating.
I wonder whether there will be any churches in Blatchford. Does an exemplary and admirable community need churches? I believe it does. Maybe we should plant a church in Blatchford!
Perhaps sometime we can think about that. But this article is about our church, Grace Lutheran in Oliver, Edmonton. Our congregation has been part of the neighbourhood since the 1950’s, and part of the city of Edmonton since 1924. It is an integral part of the community. But what value do we add?
We proclaim good news. Not every organisation can make that claim. But it’s part of our very constitution, and shows up in our mission statement. Bringing this message of good news--anchored in the person and work of Jesus--to our neighbourhood means that we seek to bless our neighbours from the abundance of joy which we have experienced because of the same good news. The Gospel is our treasure!
We also provide a warm and caring environment. Again, that’s language from our mission statement. A warm and caring environment means that there are real people here, with ears and hearts that are ready to listen and respond to the needs of our neighbours. We can always work at doing a better job of being warm and caring, but the point is, this is part of our identity as a congregation.
Imagine what this neighbourhood would be like without Grace Lutheran. Or without any churches, for that matter. What if commerce and profitability and public opinion were the only things that mattered in our city? What if every place was a bank, or a business, or private property? Our city would be cold and inaccessible to many.
But as it is, our city is vibrant and full of opportunity, and that’s partly because of you. You proclaim good news in its streets and homes and gathering places.
In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul describes himself and the other Apostles as being “servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” I love that phrase. We’re not all Apostles, but as believers in and followers of Jesus, and as members of Grace Lutheran church, we are all in some way “stewards of the mysteries of God.” We are gathered around this great mystery: that God in his incredible, unconditional love, has chosen to make himself present here. He is incarnate in this community of believers, present in Word and in the Church’s sacraments, present in His people, who bear His image and proclaim His good news. You are a blessing to this city.
In order to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in this neighbourhood for generations to come, and in order to plant churches in other neighbourhoods in the future (perhaps Blatchford some day!) we must collectively take responsibility for this ministry. Your neighbours need you! They need your time; volunteer hours spent preparing and hosting events that build community. They need your talents; gifts which are uniquely “you” offered in service to Jesus’ work here. And they need your treasures; financial support for the ministry which brings life and vibrancy to our little corner of the world.
Please prayerfully consider your part in this. You are all such a blessing. God has poured you out as salt and light in this community, and it would be bland and dark without you. Together, may God empower and equip us to be stewards of His mysteries for generations to come!
With gratitude and joy,
In faithfulness to God's word (Acts 1:8), the mission of Grace Lutheran Church is "To proclaim in a warm caring atmosphere the good news of God's love and forgiveness in Christ to the people of our congregation, our community and the world."
Grace Lutheran Church: A blessing to the neighbourhood!