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Pastor Andy Writes...
“If the Divine Service is viewed primarily as our praising God, then you can do that just as well at home. In fact, once we have looked at the topic of vocation, you will see that we can serve God better in the world than in the church building, But, if the service is understood as God giving us the forgiveness of sins, then you’ve got to be there. It is very possible that the low attendance at Sunday services seen in so many churches today is a reflection of how we define the service. If I am acting, then I can do it another time. If God is acting, I better be there.” (The Fire and the Staff, Klemet I Pruess)
I was struck by this quote after a friend shared it with me. I realize that our attitude toward worship impacts our attendance. Some people, as the author says, see worship as what they bring to God. They bring God their praise and worship. God does not need our praise. He does not need anything from us. God calls us to praise and worship Him, in everything we do, in response to what He has done for us and in loving service to our neighbor. Paul says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) Coming to Sunday worship is part of our response to God but we serve God better in our daily vocations as we interact with others.
Some people come to worship to be entertained. Some churches do a great job with the entertainment. We have had some amazing singers and musicians at this church. I am am thankful for the beauty they brought to the worship. But if the reason we come to worship is to be entertained then we can go other places and be entertained. We can find places where the ascetics of the worship keep us entertained and engaged. Coming to worship to be entertained is not why we come to worship.
Some people come to worship to be inspired. Often, they leave disappointed when they are not inspired. They say, “I did not get anything out of the message today.”
They also come to visit and interact with friends and other members of the church. We like to socialize and be in social settings. The Bible even says we meet to encourage one another. This is a valid reason to worship. But if we come to judge, criticize, and compare outfits then we are not honoring God in our worship.
So why should we come to worship? We can stay at home and watch on the couch and hear the message. We can read and study the Bible with our families. What can I get in worship that I cannot get at home?
One word, “Forgiveness”. We come together to worship because we need forgiveness. We sin. God forgives. We confess our sins. We are forgiven. The words of absolution are spoken in the stead and by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can get this at home but corporately the unique nature of the confession and absolution restores us to proper relationship to our God and one another. God comes to us through the proclamation of His Word.
This is the forgiveness which we cannot get at home. When we gather as the people of God we gather around the Altar. We come and partake the true body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus gives us His body and blood in the Sacrament of the Alter. Jesus comes to us in, with, and under the bread and wine and our sins are forgiven and our faith is strengthened.
If we do not sin, then we do not need to be forgiven. We sin. Jesus died for sinners. In worship God comes to us and declares us forgiven. We are declared the beloved children of God. God comes to us through his Word and in the blessed sacrament. Therefore, we worship corporately. We need forgiveness, God comes to us in our worship, we are forgiven.
Holy Week Schedule
April 1st--Maundy Thursday
Dinner: 5:30-6:30 PM
Service: 7 PM
April 2nd--Good Friday
Service: 7 PM
Services: 8 AM, 10:30 AM
& 7 PM
Breakfast: 8:50-10 AM
Book Club Recap:
The COS Council continues to read Built on the Rock by Ted Kober. Last meeting, we discussed the second chapter and continued to dig deeper so that we understand how Bible study is a barometer of church health. It is the church's very foundation.
A few “ah-ha” moments are below:
We discovered which characteristics are important to our congregation.
A sliding scale(from very unhealthy to very healthy) was used to help us understand our own congregation's health.
A quote that I like was the following: “We are called to be grounded in God’s word so that we can fight the spiritual battles of this life, cultivate lifestyles of reconciliation, and serve in the mission of our Lord.”
I personally struggle with not having enough time for Bible study. The council challenged me saying that if I make time for Bible study first, God will help me manage the remainder of my activities. I set goals to read and study a bit each day.
An afterthought upon reflection of this chapter: When we study and learn together as a congregation, we become healthier, and the church grows and thrives organically. If we build our church membership without study, it will not sustain.
Spring Is Here!
March and April are such fun months; spring comes forth, the trees start to bud, and we see God’s promises come through in the rebirth of nature. Lent services help us prepare our minds for Easter which is truly one of the most powerful times of the year.
When I think about the last 12 months and everything, we have endured with Covid, this spring seems to bring forth more hope other years. Vaccines are out and the Covid numbers are declining. This time last year was very sad, we didn’t get to celebrate Easter in person as we had closed services. I am rejoicing and thanking God that we will all be together safely in service this year.
My prayer for each of you so that you enjoy this spring, that you are healthy and that you find peace in studying God’s word. If you want to start a Bible study, please reach out to me. We will find venues for members to study God’s word together.
April 4--No Sunday School. Join us from 8:50-10 AM for breakfast and have the children pick up their Easter eggs after.
July 19-22--We will require all participants to sign up prior to the start of VBS.
April 7 at 6 PM--8th grade only
April 14 at 6 PM--8th grader only
April 16 at 7 PM--Questioning followed by a reception hosted by the 7th grade families.
April 21 at 7 PM Confirmation Ceremony
(This event will be broadcast on Facebook Live, as we will have to limit attendance due to Covid restrictions. An email with link will be sent out closer to date.)
The Pedigree of the Last Supper
Christ Our Savior | 5 S. 8th Street Louisburg, Kansas 66053