from Redeemer Pastor Jenny McLellan
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
St. Paul is laying another linguistic trap. You owe nothin’ to no one. Just take care of you and yours. To our contemporary ears from a western individualistic culture, this message is digestible. But just as we are chewing on his words, he slips in a caveat: owe no one anything, EXCEPT to love one another. That is, owe one another everything.
Just when St. Paul lets us think we are off the hook, he reels us into a different existence. He takes us beyond our private faith into a public commitment to one another. He sees our longing to please God by following the commandments so he shows us how. In narrowing the commandments to one summation, he expands our vision beyond legality and beyond ourselves. Love one another.
At Redeemer we don’t just care for our own. We care for the well-being of the students, staff and families of Midtown Lutheran Preschool. We care for the well-being of our Lutheran Community Food Ministry guests, volunteers, and staff. We care for the well-being of interfaith families who participate in the life and ministry of Redeemer. We care for the well-being of people who will never become members of Redeemer. We care because Jesus first cared for us and we are called to love our neighbors. Jesus doesn’t call us to only love members of our church.
Therefore, aligned with the strategic plan to deepen relationships, the council of Redeemer has decided to change the name of Redeemer’s caring ministry from Member Care to Congregational Care. It is our mission and calling to share the love and compassion of Jesus to Redeemer’s members AND everyone who interacts at any level with our congregation. We follow Jesus whose love knows no bound.
When have you felt the love of Jesus through Redeemer?