What does it mean for Christians to be “in the world, but not of the world”? In its March issue, The Lutheran Witness explores answers to this question and others like it as it examines the theme “life together, set apart.”
- From the President: Praying to the Lord of the harvest
- Life together, set (far) apart — William C. Weinrich
- Life among the pagans — Joel Elowsky
- In Christ and in the world — Joel Biermann
- Christ beyond Christendom — Roy Askins
- Hot dish heaven — Rachel Bomberger
- The joy of serving — Joshua Kittleman
- Singing in community — Jeffrey Blersch
- world views: A monthly news column from Gene Edward Veith
- searching scriptures: Life together at the altar — Matthew Richard
- bene+diction: The communion of saints — William Weedon
The animal kingdom is replete with examples of what to do when you find yourself facing a hostile environment. You can fight (not advised unless you have fangs and claws) or run away. You can burrow and hide, use camouflage to blend in or try to make yourself look big. You can even (if you dare) form a symbiotic relationship with a predator that’s a few shades scarier than whatever’s hunting you.
As Christians face the increasingly hostile environment of a post-Christian society, it’s all too easy to fall back on our animal instincts: to run, fight or hide, blend in or (worse yet) compromise, forming dangerous and unstable alliances with the world around us.
Think, though, about Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:14–15).
In Christ, we, like the apostles who came before us, don’t belong to this world anymore. Yet here we are — and here we will stay, until He calls us to Himself. Far from running away or hiding (as if we could!), we stand out. We can’t help it. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we know who we are — and Whose.
It’s not easy, but we don’t go it alone. By the Holy Spirit, Christ gathers us into His Church, where we find ample love, companionship and encouragement along the way.
This is life together, set apart. May you be blessed as you reflect on what it means for you in the pages that follow.
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness