With his staff, the Reverend Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, has adopted a new emphasis (or perhaps a renewed emphasis) for the future of the LCMS: Witness, Mercy, Life Together. The information page for this focus states, "These phrases illustrate how the church lives and works together to proclaim the Gospel and to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our congregations, communities and throughout the world. And in all we do, Christ is at the center, leading us, sustaining us, keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change."
One of Pastor Harrison's assistants, the Reverend Albert Collver, shared on his blog an excellent introduction and overview of this renewed emphasis. I would encourage you to read and share this information with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
As for me, I'm encouraged by this renewed emphasis for the LCMS. After the past near-decade of the Ablaze!(tm) movement, I see this as a move back toward our historical desire as a body to get the message straight and then to get the message out into the world. It is encouraging to see the leadership acknowledge that we are not united in doctrine and practice (and having division in one means we have division in both). It is encouraging to see that our leadership is striving to have us unite around the truth of the Word.
With all this in mind, I've put together this hymn text in honor of our new (or renewed) emphasis in the LCMS.
Witness, Mercy, Life Together
1. Witness, mercy, life together--
This, the baptized life in Christ.
Praise His holy name forever.
Praise the Lamb, the Sacrificed,
Bearing witness with Saint Peter:
"You are Christ, the Father's Son,"
Him whose death salvation won.
Saints and angels, every creature:
With the nations share the Word
Until every soul has heard.
2. As the Father first has given,
Let us give to all in need--
Not to earn a place in heaven
But to plant a Gospel seed.
Serve each neighbor with thanksgiving
For the grace that Christ has shown.
Share the love His death made known:
Serving, loving and forgiving.
Let us seek not glory's fame
But to serve in Jesus' name.
3. Let us dwell as holy brothers
As with us Christ dwells to bless.
Teach us, Lord, to love each other
Both in peace and in distress,
Seeking after true communion
In baptism's holy flood,
In Your body and Your blood,
So that we, in holy union
Dwell in peace and harmony
Here and in eternity.
(c) Alan Kornacki, Jr.
PM (87 87 877 877)
Tune: LASSET UNS MIT JESU ZIEHEN (LSB 685)
(If you should desire to use this hymn, you may do so as long as you notify me that you plan to use it. DISCLAIMER: This hymn was neither commissioned nor endorsed by the Office of the President of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, nor does the author have any official connection said Office.)