Our God is a compassionate God. We know this only because he has entered our suffering with us. That is the very definition of compassion -- "to suffer with." How then can we consider ourselves the body of Christ if we fail to enter the suffering of our neighbors? Many among us relish the thought of being compassionate people, but whose suffering are we sharing in? We live in a cultural moment when the dogmatic teachings of the church largely fall on deaf ears. Our pronouncements of judgment against sin are like clanging gongs in an echo chamber, ever ricocheting off hardened surfaces, finding no soft places to land. Yet mercy and compassion are the instruments of God's Spirit to turn stone into clay. Our church has a mission: to participate in the life and death of Jesus, to suffer with sinners as he did, to offer this Christ within us.