The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!  Isaiah 2:1-5

 

This week will be a quite an adventure for me.  I’m taking a quick trip down south.

 

First, some context:  Our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has a “companion synod” program that links groups of congregations in the United States with groups of congregations around the world.  Our synod, the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, has companion relationships with the Lutheran churches in the Central African Republic and in Peru.  Our congregation, Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, TX, has a partnership relationship with Vida Nueva Lutheran Church in Lima.

 

The key word in how our denomination views such partnerships is “accompaniment.”  This word represents a key shift in how we understand “mission” work today.  At one time, we thought that we were “bringing the gospel” to lands where it had not been heard.  Today, we have come to a new place – call it humility, wisdom, or just practical common sense – where we realize that the real work of mission is not bringing God to somewhere where God hasn’t been but rather the willingness to engage others by walking together in mutually exploring what God is up to in both of our contexts.

 

For us at Faith, our partnership with Vida Nueva means that some of our members have traveled to Peru each of the past few summers with other people from our synod.  We have the means to make such trips and we look forward to the day when economics and border issues make it possible for members of Vida Nueva can come to visit us as well. 

 

We have brought school supplies as practical help for the children of Vida Nueva but more importantly, as a symbol that we value learning as a key aspect of our ministry.  We send a measure of financial support.  We also pray every Sunday morning for the ministry of Vida Nueva.  By naming our partner in worship we are reminded of the global reach of the gospel and that we are linked to a worshipping community that has much to teach us and vice versa.

 

This week I and another member of Faith will travel to Lima to join the congregation of Vida Nueva in greeting the new Christian year in worship on the first Sunday of Advent.  Vida Nueva sits on a hill high above Lima.  It was born in the midst of what was basically a refugee camp of people who had come to the city to escape the ravages of a civil uprising in the mountains of Peru.  This is the hill we will be walking up for worship on Sunday morning – even as we hear the words from Isaiah – “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”

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Let us pray:  Dear Lord, you crossed the boundaries of time and space when you came among us in Jesus.  As we prepare to cross boundaries and borders, we pray that you continue to surprise us with the incarnation of your love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. Sue Faillettaz (Bern. Switzerland) Says:

    Have a wonderful trip.

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    In your partnership with the congregation of Vida Nueva may your mutual “accompaniment” herald the new Advent year. May you all make beautiful music together.

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