“The Pastor’s Word” is a monthly letter from our pastor, which also appears in our Newsletter, the Quill. Much further down this page you will also find MP3 audio files of sermons from our worship service each week.

Life in the Spirit

The short duration of human life—about 28,000 days on average—raises a crucial question. How do we want to spend it? What kind of life is worth living?

Answers vary. Consumer culture tells us to gobble up what we can. The more we have, the happier we will be. Hedonism offers another option: eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

Christian answers regarding the kind of life worth living vary as well.  For some, following Jesus’ advice to take up one’s cross (Luke 9:23) means to live a life of rigorous self-denial. Others insist that God calls us in Christ to a life of submission. After all, the argument goes, Jesus himself was “obedient”—even to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). We should be also.

Personally, I am quite wary of anyone who demands my submission, even Paul (as evident in Philippians 2:8). And while self-denial may have some validity in a culture of self-indulgence, I think Martin Luther was right to reject it as a “work,” which is to say, as a way of trying to prove ourselves to God and earn God’s love.

Fortunately, when it comes to the kind of life worth living from a Christian perspective, we have a third option: life in the Spirit.

What is life in the Spirit? For Paul, life in the Spirit is synonymous with freedom. God loves us first, and such love sets us free—free from being possessed by the things we desire, and free from needing to prove ourselves to God.

This freedom, in turn, gradually bears fruit. It appears in joy, peace, patience, kindness, and generosity (see Galatians 5:22). In each of these examples, a person finds her or himself opening up to others rather than “hunkering down” or turning in on oneself. Is this not the kind of life you want to live? Is this not genuine freedom?

This Advent, I invite you to join me as we explore ways to become more patient, more generous, more kind, more free—I invite you to Life in the Spirit, the Christian answer to the type of life worth living.


Pastor Dan Peterson

Pastor Dan Peterson
Queen Anne Lutheran Church