Summary: A sermon that encourages to have a broad view of Christian care.

As we think about what it means to be a caring community, it is important to think about how we reflect God in our caring.

This means that foundational to all our caring is God.

When God is foundational to our caring, we see how much God loves us and cares for us.

And second to God being foundational for our care, it is important to think about how we view the church…

Listen to this little interchange:

Irvine and Peter are work mates. It was Friday and as the day drew closer and closer their conversation went something like this.

Irvine: :Hey Pete, what are you up to this weekend?

Pete: Spending time with family, watching the footy, doing some gardening and on Sunday I am off to church.

Irvine: Church??? What do you want to want go there for? It is full of hypocrites and it is boring?

Pete: Boring? What do you mean boring? I am not sure when you were last part of the church, but we are not boring. We are frequently learning. We always have a lot on. Sure we make mistakes at times, but there is where you learn and have the opportunity to experience some of God’s love. As the church we are spending time in loving God, serving each other and helping others.

Did you notice the difference between the two?

Irvine’s perspective of the church is that the church was something or someone else that he expected to meet his expectations and serve him, and by the sounds of it it hadn’t. He had a narrow view of church.

Pete on the other hand was fully involved. He clearly saw that he is part of the church. He was aware how much was happening among those who made up the church so that people lived out its calling.

Understanding that you and me are part of the church is critical if we are to live out our vision statement that we will be caring for people biblically, spiritually and pastorally.

Being a caring community requires every person to see that they are called to be caring.

Caring for people involves us, you and me.

It is not someone else’s responsibility, it is yours and mine, we are the church.

The New Testament reminds us that the church is God’s people coming together to listen to God, receive His forgiveness and guidance and be His disciples who actively love God, each other and the wider community.

It is also important for us to see that when people we know who are part of the church visit us, care for us, help us, that that is the church visiting us, helping us and caring for us.

And care through the church has a broad dimension.

Now think about the various ways people need help.

As part of the church we have a role to play in many of these ways.

That is why our vision statement points to us being a caring community biblically, spiritually and pastorally.

Often when we think of care, we think of the practical care people need.

Over the last year listen to how God has shown His love to people through our congregation:

cooking meals

babysitting and animal sitting

giving others a lift

visiting others

sending cards

praying for people

giving food through loaves and fishes

plus there are many more.

Can you think of a way someone in this congregation has helped you?

Thank God for them and His care through them.

Please keep in mind that that is God showing His love to you through them.

Unfortunately someone people believe the church should keep its nose out of this practical help.

However that is not the teaching of the bible.

In our reading from Acts 6,

the disciples recognised that widows needed to be helped but the disciples were already over committed.

Now they could have said, this is not our responsibility?

However they didn’t.

They probably remembered the story of the Good Samaritan which encourages us to see that whenever we see someone in need, God is calling us to help them.

And in the Small Catechism Martin Luther reminds us that the bible encourages us to have this approach to life, that being a Christian is a call to be actively be involved in helping people.

and this is how Luther expresses it in the Large Catechism

The fifth commandment is violated not only when a person actually does evil, but also when you fail to do good to others, or, though you have the opportunity, you fail to prevent, protect, and save others from suffering bodily harm or injury. If you send a person away naked when you could clothe him, you have let them freeze to death. If you see anyone suffer hunger and do not feed them, you have let them starve. Likewise, if you see anyone condemned to death or in similar peril and do not save them although you know ways and means to do so, you have killed him. It will do you no good to plead that you did not contribute to their death by word or deed, for you have withheld your love from them and robbed them of the service by which their life might have been saved.

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