It may seem that they have very little in common: an ELCA Youth Gathering of more than 33,000 participants ("'When God shows up, lives will change'") and Hope Lutheran Church in rural Rhodes, Mich. Having the privilege of preaching to both in July, I am delighted to share with you their many similarities.
In both communities the grace of God abounds and a clear Lutheran witness to the gospel is being made. At the center of both the gathering and Hope is the cross of Christ through which God makes us one. And, yes, in both lives are being changed by the Spirit's power.
The word is out in that rural Michigan community that the people of Hope welcome you as you are, not as you think you should be. They believe what Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ELCA pastor, told Youth Gathering participants opening night: God is not in the sin accounting business.
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