Dear Saints of Cross and Crown,
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. In remembrance, every October we celebrate Reformation Sunday. We proclaim that the church must always be reformed, and reforming is the expected work of the Holy Spirit. The church never stands still, nor would we want it to. The Spirit is alive and well, moving in and through us all, breathing life into the church, and creating something new at all times. During this month of the Reformation, let us remember that the great work of God is to constantly make something brand-new, and never revert back to what once was. In fact, former Presiding Bishop of the ELCA Mark Hanson has said, "Nostalgia is the great sin of the church." We will, we must, move forward and reform. This is the work of the Holy Spirit and it is happening all around, in, and through us.
As the Spirit is making things new among us, what then is our job? If we are not the ones forcing renewal and reformation, what are we people supposed to be doing in the meantime? Well, we certainly do have jobs to do! Here are a few of them:
1. We are asked to continually keep the faith. What are we, after all, without faith? We do not live and love conditionally, but unconditionally. This means that regardless of the shifting conditions of our individual or collective lives, we trust and believe in God's promises to us. God loves us, God cares for us, God gives us everything we need, and God will never leave us. We have every reason to be joyful, optimistic, and at peace. Faith is what has led billions of people before us through every unknown circumstance, through all trials and challenges, and onward for thousands of years. Faith is the description of who we are as Christians. We walk by faith, not by sight. We will never be given a blueprint of exactly how God will reform us, but we know the One who is doing the reforming, and we can trust God.
2. We are asked to be grateful for the church. There are so many times we take for granted all we have been given, including aspects of our faith. Let us never take for granted that we get to have a direct connection with the God of the universe. We get to come together to worship, to pray, to learn, to attend Bible study, to receive the sacraments, and to be fed in all of those spiritual ways that truly and deeply matter. Thousands of Christians around the world have died, risking worship, prayer, and Bible study. We can remember to be grateful that we don't have to risk martyrdom, but we have the free and open opportunities to connect with our faith and the church as we do. The church is reforming, but it will always exist as the Body of Christ, and because of the work of God on the cross, we get to be a part of it!
3. We are asked to show up as the Body of Christ -- show up and love. Jesus has told us our three most important jobs: Love God with all our heart (emotionally devoted to God), soul (receive the sacraments), mind (learn from the Bible), and strength (serve God). Love neighbor. Love self. These three aspects of life should, and will, take up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some days will be more devoted to one of these aspects of love than another, but ultimately all of these will be given the attention they deserve, and they will be in balance. God pours grace into and onto us, and asks us to receive it. But then God asks us to get busy, showing up to a life of love as the Body of Christ.
So this October, let's remember that the Spirit will take care of the ever-present work of reforming, as we take care of nurturing our faith and gratitude, and showing up to love in myriad ways. Let us recommit ourselves as the reforming Body of Christ here at Cross and Crown. We are loved and loving, served and serving, worked upon by the Spirit, and at work as the church together.
I'd like to offer a special greeting to those members of our Cross and Crown congregation who are not worshiping with us in person yet, out of an abundance of caution with the Covid Delta variant, or the possibility of being exposed to Covid, or any other personal reason at this time. We love you and remember you in worship weekly. You are still very much a part of our congregation, and we are so glad to call you our church family. Whether in the same building, or connecting with worship and our community online through our Youtube channel, please know the human spirit knows no bounds, and the Holy Spirit holds us all together in the great Body of Christ. May you feel that peace and love that belongs to us all. Please do reach out to me if you would like to talk, or if I, or we as a church, can be there for you in any way.
In Christ''s love,
Welcome to Cross and Crown Lutheran Church.
Located in the City of Rancho Cucamonga.
We are proud members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Pacifica Synod Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Rancho Cucamonga
All are Welcome
Christ has asked us to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves. We welcome ALL to worship with us 9 am Sunday mornings.
6723 Etiwanda Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739