St. Paul's Evangelical Free Lutheran Church

21513 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road

Hagerstown, MD 21742

301-739-5442

Evangelical - Confessional - Faithful

The Pastor's Thoughts

"Then His mother and brothers came to him, but they could not reach Him because of the crowd. And He was told, 'your mother and your brothers are standing ourside desiring to see you.' But He answered them, 'My mother and by brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it." Luke 8:19-21

"When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then He said to the disciples, 'Behold your mother.'" John 19:26-27a

I guess I'm supposed to write something about the year ahead of us at St. Paul's. We've looked back at 2016 and now it's time to look ahead — I get that. But somehow I just don't feel like it. So I'm going to talk aout something else in the column — family.

Most of you have heard me say that at St. Paul's we are all family. When one of us has cause to celebrate, we all celebrate. When one of us has cause to mourn, we all mourn. We share a bond that transcends mere bloodlines and is based instead on another kind of blood — the blood shed by Jesus as He paid the price for our sins and won for us eternal life with God.

It's a great thing to have a family at St. Paul's. It warms my heart and gives me a sense of belonging, and I'll bet you have the same feelings. We look around the sanctuary and see familiar faces and we know that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. And occasionally we welcome a new face into our family, a face we don't know well as yet but we rejoice in their presence.

But our family is wider than just those who come to St. Paul's . It includes all of those who belong to the AFLC, hearing the Gospel and recieving the Sacrament in places as far flung as Alaska and Brazil.

But the family is even larger than that, including believers in Christ all over the world. In Africa only 9% of the population was Christian 100 years ago. Now that number is over 50%. They too are our family. South Korea had no Christians in 1900, today they number in the millions. More Chirstians worship on Sunday in China than in all of Europe combined. These too are our family.

God has, through Jesus CHrist, made certain that we will never be alone in this life, we belong to a really big family.

Pr. Culler