Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Word From Pastor Mike: Christians are Messy

Over the years I've often heard people say they believe in God but don't want to belong to a congregation, they just prefer to worship on their own.  I think worshiping alone can be really satisfying and precious time.  I also think there is a reason that Biblically we are given examples of worshiping as a community.  In our recent church newsletter Mike speaks to this...

"For several years now, as the weekend approaches, I have been praying for people to come and
worship. As I drive to church on Sunday, I see the cars parked in our neighborhood and I pray, “Stir
them up, Lord.” I believe that we all need weekly help for our faith journey. God strengthens our
spiritual lives in Word and Sacrament worship."

What do you think?  Do you feel the need for weekly worship?  Maybe even more often?

Another thing I've often heard is someone stating they don't want to attend church because it is full of sinners,  perhaps naming names and pointing out their sins.  To that I say, "Of course!"  Sinners need a place to go for redemption and to receive the gift of God's forgiveness and grace.  I once heard a quote that a church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints... or something like that.  Mike had some words about that as well...

"Life is messy. Christians are messy. Church institutions aren’t perfect and they never have been. So
why worship? Why shouldn’t we be a bunch of Lone Ranger Christians? Why not worship by yourself
in the great outdoors? Well, the Bible certainly encourages times of personal devotion and prayer
but the Bible never conceives of worship without people in community. We need each other and we
all need God."

Sometimes Pastor Mike is a pretty smart guy, huh?

He and I have also been talking about being authentic people.  One way to do that is to be more open about our shortcomings.  Sometimes people believe a pastor and his family all lead crisp, clean and well-managed lives.  I kind of like letting people believe that, actually.  That is because I am a prideful person and I am working on that.

OK, so I am here to tell you that we goof up also.  We make mistakes over and over again.  One thing about writing a blog is a person can just put up a few pretty pictures and it looks like all is wonderful.  We do have a really nice life, but we do not have a perfect life.  By showing our shiny side on my blog, I worry that someone will think they themselves lead a lesser life.  So, let it be known that like everyone, we are sinners.  Like everyone, we are offered a chance of forgiveness and healing.  Now, isn't that what it is all about?  I think I will head to church now to be with all the other faulty people.  I fit in there.


Michelle said...

Well and wisely said.

EJN said...

Thanks for this post, Susan. It made me chuckle, my husband, pastors a small house church, and oftens says things that startle me - as in being very open about his failures - I am a spin, and Pollyanna type - (pride reworded). How lovely it is, that we are IN Christ and that He has fulfilled all the commandments perfectly - and loves us enough to continuously work in bringing us to perfection. I think it is ironic that the more I grow into Christ the further I understand my need to grow in Him in all things.
One other thought on meeting together and growing in church community, I have heard it said, "The Church is Plan A, there is no Plan B." It is made up of broken people with imperfect life, and God's gracious kindnesses are lavished upon us that we might grow up more into Him.
Love to you, Dear One,
Hope this Lord's day is a blessing to you and you are filled to His fullness,

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