Introduction to the May 2011 Reporter Insert

We have a “life together” as a church. It is a life marked by bearing witness together to Christ, and having compassion upon those within and without the fellowship of this orthodox Lutheran faith (Gal. 2:9–10). This “life together” is both gift and task. It is given with Christ’s Word and Sacraments, and it must be tended both in doctrine and life (Acts 2:42). Where this life together is strained and broken, there are tears and anxiety (2 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 11:28). Where it endures and is restored, there is joy (2 Cor. 1:24)—joy in mission (Acts 15:3), joy in a life of faith shared (Rom. 15:32), joy in encouraging each other (2 Cor. 7:13), joy in the midst of trials (1 Thess. 1:6), and joyful compassion (Heb. 10:34).

Anything I might blather about “partnerships” would be but a weak shadow of a shadow compared to the following golden words of St. Paul.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:3–11).

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison