May 21, 2018
[Jesus said to Nicodemus:] "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
[John 3:17]
The readings for Trinity Sunday are as follows:
This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday and the Gospel reading from John relates the very familiar encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in which we find the best-known verse all of Scripture, John 3:16.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
I happen to prefer the next verse: Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Martin Luther called John 3:16, "the heart of the Bible, the Gospel in miniature."
These two verses give us insight into Jesus' mission and ministry here on earth, and also reflect the full impact of Jesus' life.
I've encountered many people during my time in ministry that see God as a punishing God, and as a result, fail to see a merciful, loving God. They may have been victims of abuse at home, bullied in school, or generally marginalized by society.
The church also bears and continues to bear a responsibility in this. Many of these same people have also been exposed to unwelcome, judgmental, and even harsh treatment by the church. It is a challenge, as a leader in the church, to change those deeply embedded resentments.
As humans, we cannot begin to imagine the infinite lengths to which God will go to prove God's love to humankind.
But as John 3:16 states, God's offer of salvation is made available through belief in God's son, Jesus Christ, who attached himself to the world, who sought to establish a relationship of community with us, who focused on life, and whose only motivation was love and to make God's love known.
This kind of love is humanly impossible to comprehend. But it is our duty as Christians to proclaim incessantly that good news to a hurting world.
As I stated last week, we are in pre-assembly mode at the Lutheran Center. In less that three weeks, we will gather at the John S. Knight Center for our synod assembly. Our theme this year is "Ambassadors for Christ," based on 2 Corinthians 5:20. And our goal this year, as always, is to make this the best assembly ever.
Among the innovations for this year, we are introducing an electronic guidebook app for your smartphone or other electronic devices. It provides all the information you need for the assembly at your fingertips. Please see the Northeastern Ohio Synod website for instructions on how to download and use.
For those who are not voting members to the assembly, we will be livestreaming the assembly on the internet. It is helpful for you to see what actually goes on during the two days that we are together and hopefully, it will inspire you to become a voting member from your congregation at future assemblies.
I ask your prayers for our synod office team, as they are hard at work in making assembly preparations.
This evening, I will visit with the councils of First and Zion Lutheran Churches in Canton, as they begin to prepare for a pastoral vacancy. First and Zion have been in a parish partnership for several years.
This coming Sunday, Trinity Sunday, I will be with the people of Lordstown Lutheran Church. It will be my first visit to Lordstown and I am always extra excited when I meet with a congregation for the first time.
Next week, due to the Memorial Day Holiday, Monday Musings will publish a Tuesday edition.
This week and always, may God's love give you strength, and the blessings on peace.
+Bishop Abraham Allende