By Katie Schuermann
ST. LOUIS (July 24, 2013) — “We are baptized for life together,” the Rev. Dr. James A. Baneck, president of the LCMS North Dakota District, preached to convention delegates during today’s Morning Prayer service. “In our fellowship, we are all confessional; in our fellowship, we are all missional; in our fellowship, we are all Lutheran. We are the baptized in Christ Jesus. This is who we are.”
Yet, Baneck explained, our wrongdoings and iniquities “shatter” our fellowship with one another.
“Then, what shall we do?” he asked the assembly.
Baneck’s answer came directly from the service’s Scripture reading in Acts Chapter 2: “’Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’”
“You are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus,” Baneck preached. “To be baptized in water and the Word is to be baptized in Christ Himself, to be released from hell and sin and eternal death. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, He builds our life together … He serves the world and one another through us.”
“Oh, how beautiful is our life together, as Christ lives and moves and breathes with and among us!”
The Rev. Benjamin Ball of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, Ill., was liturgist, and Cantor Phillip Magness of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broken Arrow, Okla., served as organist/pianist. Magness was joined by Laura Kalbfleisch on flute, Nathan McCord on percussion and the Rev. Dr. Fred Baue on guitar.
The 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.