Why Worship?

 

O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!   Psalm 95:1-7

 

            Actions have consequences. Some are obvious, some are oblique. Some are immediate; some seem to wait a while to catch up with us. Some are direct, some tangential. We might not always think about the consequences of the things we do, but, one way or another, we do have to deal with them – even if we’re denying the action and/or the consequence.

            I’d like to put Christian Worship in the context of actions and consequences. I’d like us to consider this because there are so many things that demand we choose them rather than Worship on any given Sunday. So, why do you or don’t you go to Sunday Worship.

            Historically, Worship attendance came to be associated with salvation. If you don’t go to church, you won’t go to heaven. If you don’t worship, God will punish you. Conversely, if you do worship – that will help you get into heaven and if you do worship, God will reward you.

            This is not my understanding of Lutheran theology. I don’t believe it and I don’t teach it.

(We teach that salvation comes solely through Jesus the Christ. We do not do things to be saved, we do things because we are saved.)

            There are many reasons people give for going or not going to Worship. “It makes me feel good.” “I miss it when I don’t go.”  “It’s the only time of the week I have to sleep in or do things around the house/yard.”  “I like the preaching/singing/choir/liturgy.” “It’s boring and doesn’t say a thing to me.” “I miss it all week if I don’t go” “It’s a chance to catch up with my friends.” “It’s just a bunch of hypocrites getting together to pretend they’re better than everyone else.” “It’s something we do together as family.” “Family demands keep me from going.” “I just feel I have to go.” “Nobody can make me go.” “I’ve got to work.” “It’s the only time I’ve got off work.”

            The thing is, they’re all true, for someone, someplace on any given Sunday.  So, why go to church?  For me, it centers on my honest attempt to follow Jesus where he leads me. Jesus spent a lot of time in the temple. He was there as a student and as a teacher. He was there as a reader and a preacher. He was there as a healer and a prophet. He led the liturgy and sang hymns. He prayed in the temple and outside the temple. He didn’t like, argued with and challenged some of the things people did in the temple as well as the leadership and teachings that had come to dominate much of the faith. He pointed out faith and he pointed out hypocrisy. And he went to worship, wherever he was, he went to worship. To the people gathered at worship, he proclaimed what God had done, what God is doing and what God will do. No matter what was going on, for Jesus, going to worship was stopping by at his Father’s house. It was something he did often.

            So, in the actions and consequences scenario, it might not be about what we get for going to church. How about, going to church is what we get for following Jesus. The consequence of following Jesus, is joining him in his/our Father’s house. Hope to see you in church.

 

Pastor Pat

 

November 21, 2017

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