In recent time I have been pondering on the partnership that Lutheran education has with the Church in mission and ministry. This has led me to reflect on the incredible responsibility we have entrusted to us to proclaim the saving message of God’s love and salvation and live this out to the students, staff and families in our care.
If we were to consider Luther’s definition of a priest – we are all priests because we are believers in Christ – by God’s grace we are priests. When believers minister Christ’s grace and seek God’s will in whatever they do, they are doing priestly service. We therefore are priests in this sense because we represent God’s specific care for people through the teaching of the gospel. Whether or not we are presented with direct opportunities to teach the Christian faith or lead devotions, we all have the opportunity to witness and model the Christian life in our day-to-day interactions with others. The love, service, obedience, forgiveness, compassion, humility and honesty we demonstrate to others will testify to our ministry.
2 Corinthians 5: 16-20 provides the context of our ministry: 16 No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. …. 17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 18 All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19 Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends.
Each of us as a consequence of our positions and roles within our respective contexts are in unique positions to positively influence the culture of our communities. This is an amazing privilege. There will be times when we will be sorely tested and we will be prone to be less forgiving or compassionate, however, we all need to remember that God never gives up on us so we should not give up on others. Having said this, all members of our respective communities need to take responsibility for their words and actions. In the absence of such, individuals need to be held accountable. In these instances, we act firmly but fairly.
We have the opportunity to model Christian love in action. This is where love comes to life. This is a tangible way in which we partner with the church in mission and ministry.