Monday, April 25, 2011

Ringing out our welcome

Zion Lutheran Church was founded southwest of Chicago in the late nineteenth century, over a decade prior to the establishment of the township of Tinley Park which now surrounds it.  From an early time, the congregation made a habit of ringing the bell three times during the Lord's Prayer at Sunday morning services.  Although this peculiar liturgical practice was discontinued some years ago, its original meaning has recently been discovered.  The ringing of the bell was meant to alert farmers who were at work in nearby fields (and therefore unable to be in church) to pause and pray the Lord's Prayer in concert with the congregation.  This gesture of solidarity marked the church as a center of the community, an assembly whose impact reached into the surrounding community to address the life and culture of Tinley Park's earliest European settlers.

Have you ever wondered how we might more effectively reach out to our surrounding community?  How does our worship in Augustana Chapel address the lives of our neighbors?  How do our studies and ministries promote solidarity with those who pass by on 55th and University Streets?  As we celebrate God's exaltation of the humiliated Messiah, let us consider the ways in which we express Christ's continued presence both among us and through us to others.

Guest blogger--Nate Sutton

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