A new YouTube video from LCMS Youth Ministry tied to the “In Christ Alone” theme of the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering is available here.
Titled “In Christ Alone We Stand,” the 3-minute video is being released to coincide with Reformation Day on Oct. 31 — the date when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517. With its 500th anniversary coming in 2017, that date is marked as the “birthday” of the Reformation.
LCMS Youth Ministry is the sponsor of LCMS Youth Gatherings that have taken place every three years since 1980. The 2016 Gathering is set for July 16-20 in New Orleans.
A message from LCMS Youth Ministry to all rostered LCMS workers about the video and its availability begins, “As we celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation, we are reminded of the work of Martin Luther and his bold stand for the truths of Scripture. When severely threatened to recant his proclamations [theses], Martin Luther spoke these words: ‘I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.’
“People long for something meaningful,” Youth Ministry’s message continues. “Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians that this ‘something’ is some one. ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).’ Here I stand. I can do no other. Here we stand in Christ alone.”
The message goes on to explain that the 2016 Gathering theme “echoes this idea of standing together in our baptismal identity, being united in Christian community and modeling Christ’s attitude of humility. We know it is God who places us and causes us to stand because it is Christ who stands for us.
“This Gathering video celebrates our Lutheran identity and encourages us that we can and do stand in Christ alone. May it be a blessing to you and your congregation this Reformation and always,” Youth Ministry’s message concludes.
The 2016 Youth Gathering theme also ties to the Synod’s theme of “Stand” for the 2013-16 triennium.
The Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the Office of National Mission (which includes LCMS Youth Ministry), reflected on that thematic tie.
“We are very much looking forward to the 2016 national Youth Gathering where we will stand ‘In Christ Alone,’ ” said Day, who also is interim chief mission officer for the Synod. “It is wonderful that the Gathering is picking up on the Synod theme … of unpacking the many treasures of the Reformation as we move toward [the] 2017 anniversary.
“The Reformation is all about Jesus and so is the national Youth Gathering,” Day said. “Christ Who stood in our place. Christ Who allows us to stand and confess before the world. Christ Who will stand with us in New Orleans as we rejoice to receive His gifts and serve our neighbor.”
The Rev. Mark Kiessling, interim director of LCMS Youth Ministry and Gathering program director, explained that “ ‘In Christ Alone’ answers the basic question, ‘How can we stand in this life?’ We do not stand by our doing, our desire or our strength, but by God’s grace through Christ alone.”
“Gathering participants will gather in the name of the One who stands for us and gives us the gifts of identity and community,” he added.
Kiessling also said that the LCMS Office of National Mission “looks forward to hearing how the church at-large, districts and local congregations will commemorate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in 2017.”
For more about the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering, visit its website at lcmsgathering.com.
Posted Oct. 30, 2014 / Updated Oct. 31, 2014