Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Church Home

Saying for the Day- As you do unto the least of these my brothers so you do unto me.

Today Betty and I join St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. From our first visit we knew this church was special. You could feel God working in the midst of it.
From my experience there are three kinds of churches.
1. An island for the saved standing against an evil world.
2. A club or organization like the Masons.
3. A servant group called by God to serve.
In a very clear way you can tell which group a church is in by its funeral practices.
1. The island group will bury only its own. If you aren’t an active member then they can not ask God’s blessing on you.
2. The second group has a budget to meet. They have to charge for funerals. If you use the church there is a charge. If you use the pastor there is a charge. They need the money. They are always worried about the budget.
3. The servant church sees people in grief and in need. They reach out to help in any way they can.
Last Wednesday I asked the pastor what the funeral practice was at St. Marks. How much did they charge to use the church. He looked at me as if I didn’t understand. There was no charge for funerals, no charge for the use of the building, no charge for the pastor and they were there for anybody who asked for help. But there was one more thing they provided a free lunch after the funeral. They neither encouraged nor requested any offering to cover the cost. They were a servant church.
This church belongs to almost every serving group in town from Nursing Home ministry to food pantries, from literacy training to help of the mentally impaired. They raised money during Lent for Literacy, for Katrina victims, and for ministry in the Congo. They provide the membership with information on every ministry and asked them to pray for them.
I’m home. This is where God wants me to be.One of the servants of the servants of God.

@@@@News From Pigeon Falls– The little town in my garage where the trains still run, boys talk to rocks , and basketball is king– The season is over and the New Potatoes have their place in the history of Pigeon Falls. The first team ever to win a state championship. They won by four points in a very well played game by both sides. Sometime this afternoon the bus carrying the team will return as will half the town. There will be a parade down the main street. Then they will go on to the consolidated school where there will be speeches and other nonsense. The team members will be treated like returning heroes. Little kids will ask for their autographs. If worse comes to worse they will begin to believe all the nonsense. But they will discover in a few years that their winning will be of little value to them in the real world.
Pastor Moe preached his second sermon this morning. Again he said that this basketball stuff bordered on idol worship. God was not pleased by the little round ball. Our God wanted no other God’s before him. Further he said the poor kids on the team would be lied to. They would be told this was the greatest moment in their lives and that nothing would ever be better. If that’s true, he said, then they have his pity. There were far greater experiences to come. Like finding your true love, holding your first child, graduating from college, and so many other events. The sermon was long and poorly delivered but it still upset people. Pastor Moe is getting off to a rough start.
Nancy will open the shop this afternoon though she is usually closed on Sunday. She said that those who don’t go to the Fly Inn Bar need someplace to go to to rejoice. She is making some championship coffee and a state championship cake. She is ready to really do some business.

Today's Link-My Knitting Machines and Me- Knit a nice comment with the words Dr. John in it.
Now we belong to St. Marks. It was so nice. So many people came up after the service to welcome us. I know this ia where God wants us now. we came home and spent a quiet afternoon. I caught up on most of my links. I finished the fourth book in the wheel of time series and I played with the dog. Now I will take a breathing treatment.


Blogger Janvangogh said...

Pastor Moe needs to preach in Titletown.

5:48 AM  
Blogger The Old Fart said...

I am so happy you and Betty found a church you both like. I hope you both have a wonderful Blessed day.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Nea said...

I think that is the way every church should be. I could be wrong, but I think those churches are the exception, not the rule. One of the things I have always had against organized religion, is their greed.I never understood how some churches could be so terribly rich, when they have exempt status from monetary gain. I would think they should use the money towards the good. So I think you found the true church.......the true meaning.

The Mormon church, the Catholic Church, and the Seventh Day Adventist church have wealth beyond belief.....along with quite a few others.......kind of looses its charm for me, I can feel closer to god in the woods, than in one of those extrememly pompous churches.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Nea said...

An you know me, I am not even sure about God........wish I had your faith......

11:31 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

From my experience there are three kinds of churches.
1. An island for the saved standing against an evil world.
2. A club or organization like the Masons.
3. A servant group called by God to serve.

Funny how island churches usually comprise people who have exactly the same faults as the people not on their island

Masons generally did good, they were the original members of a community who gave to charities. Unfortunately all things become corrupted, nowdays charity means 'tax exempt' - and charity begins at home of course

The risk with three, is that some people feel they need to save others - as some form of justification for their own beliefs

PS - Men of every race & creed have done atrocities and abominations in the name of a god.

Equally men of every race or creed have done great acts of kindness, without judging others beliefs, or as a need to justify their beliefs

It is the act of kindness itself that counts (not in the name of who)
It is the kind smile to a stranger that counts

1:40 PM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

It is said if you see someone hungry - it is not enough to say "God Bless You" - it is enough to feed them

If you see someone thirsty - it is not enough to say "God Bless You" - it is enough to give them water

If someone is sick - it is not enough to say "God Bless You" - it is enough to care for them and heal them ...
sadly most are good at passing the bill or charging high fees for this act - and not so hot at using their skill (or gift) for free.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Quilly said...

Dr. John, I am glad you found the church home you were seeking. Mission churches are becoming harder and harder to find.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Dr. John, I remember reading in one of your previous posts that you were concerned about finding a church where you feel at home, so I'm glad you found one.


6:55 PM  
Blogger Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

Greetings, I nominated you for a Thinking Blogger award. Come on by my site when you have a chance.


8:35 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

Im happy that you and Betty found a Church you feel good in. Its important to feel good about your Church family. We always have funeral dinners for the families with no charge. Most people give a donation but it is not required.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Alastair said...

Glad you have found a Church to be at home in. I agree the family of God is the true model of Church, rather than any club or society.

Funeral practises differ in the UK, as an Anglican Minister I am compelled to take the funeral of anyone who lives in my geographical parishes (a service which I am more than willing to offer, along with the bereavement care that comes from it). I am though also compelled to charge - it is a statutory fee set by government, and because the Church of England has no government funding and yet is expected to offer pastoral services to everyone in England who requests, the fees go towards funding the ministry and the upkeep of Churches that stretch back i their foundation up to and beyond at thousand years old. We aren't rich! We do offer pastoral care without charge and to any who ask, though!

3:18 AM  

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