A very informative article by Pastor Mueller, 1st Vice-President of the LCMS, regarding the “Mercy” aspect of the Synod’s “Witness, Mercy, and Life Together” emphasis.
Considering our Synod’s emphasis on “Witness, Mercy and Life Together,” questions are sometimes raised whether “mercy” is an appropriate term for the center of such a trilogy. Would “service” or “compassion” be better terms? Whatever the term used, the Church’s activity of caring for the needs of hurting people, is a fruit of faith, a necessary part of sanctification. Our good works are not necessary for our salvation (God doesn’t need them – He’s already done everything for us in Christ), but they are necessary for our neighbor. In this way, the Church as Christ’s body, with Christ as Head, becomes the arms, the hands, the feet, the mouth of Christ in the world, for the sake of the world.
Each of these three, Witness, Mercy and Life Together, flows out from the cross of Christ through the Church, for the sake of the world. When one of these is absent, or weak, the others are diminished as well. Strengthening one will also strengthen the other two. So the Church bears witness to Christ by preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name (the church’s primary calling). In so doing, we are called into the fellowship of (life together with) our Lord Jesus! Alive in Christ, and united with Him, the Church also has a life of mercy and service, our diakonia, both individually and corporately.
The Church’s work of mercy flows from all the Triune God has done for those who are baptized into the Triune name.
Head over to the “Witness, Mercy and Life Together” blog to see how Pastor Mueller illustrates this utilizing ten basic points. For as he states at the end:
Proclamation of the Gospel and mercy for the needy belong together, just as faith and love cannot be separated. We are saved by faith alone, Luther taught us, but faith is never alone. It also brings forth works of love.
- On Being Christ-Centered (reformingtoday.wordpress.com)