Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dead Church ?

Saying for the day:Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.Arthur Schopenhauer

Practical Chick had a post that got me to thinking about worship or to be more exact the way in which we worship. On her post she has a video of a very lively Pentecostal service and an invitation. There was a time when I believed that the way God wanted us to worship was the way Lutherans did it. We used a form that had come down through the centuries. It was dignified and it pointed away from us to the Word made flesh.In it we met Christ in the Holy Communion and he lifted us up and took away our sin. How could there be any other way.
But time has passed and God has helped me to see that liturgy , the way we worship, is only a tool. It is a way to help us thank and praise God. It ushers us into his presence.

Over the years I have worshipped in a lot of churches with a lot of different forms. I have found God in Pentecostal worship, Baptist worship, Russian Orthodox worship, Quaker worship, and even in Lutheran worship. What I haven’t found was a dead church. In every one I found people of faith using their form to thank and praise God. God in his wisdom has provided a variety of ways to meet him because people are different. I know people of faith who find Pentecostal worship fails to bring them into God’s presence. They need structure. They need dignity. I know other people who find Lutheran worship unsatisfying of their spiritual needs. They want something more lively.

That’s where the idea that one church is dead and another is alive comes from. If I belonged to a church and it didn’t meet my worship needs. Then I went to another and it did. Then I see my old church as being dead. It couldn’t be me so it must be them.

What is important is that we believe in Jesus. It is faith above form.

#### News from Pigeon Falls-The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal. Pastor Joan expects a few more people at Last Lutheran this morning. The deer hunters have started to trickle back into town. Some can hardly wait to tell the story of how they got the big buck over coffee after the service. It Is Christ the King Sunday in the liturgical year and Pastor Joan is talking about how human kings sent others to die for them but Christ the King came to die for us. It promises to be a powerful sermon. Why a few people might even forget the deer and talk about the sermon over coffee.
This afternoon people from the Methodist and Lutheran Churches will put up the manger scene in front of the gazebo. They have done it every year for as long as anyone can remember. The statues have been repainted several times but they wouldn’t think of buying new ones. One of the wise men has a foot missing but they always pile a little straw over it. These are treasures being passed from generation to generation.
Last year somebody stole the baby Jesus from the manger and the entire town was upset. It showed up several days later on the altar in the Catholic church. The priest said it just wanted to visit. They never did find out who took it or why. Of course everybody thought it was Tommy UK but he denied it up and down. Said if he did it it would have shown up on a roof somewhere.

Today's Link-It Takes a Church- Some more thoughts about Thanksgiving.
We went to church this morning. Because of the blog I was more aware than usual of the worship itself. I `like the silenc e at the beginning when the bell is rung. You have a moiment to leave everything behind and commune with God. The bell choir was there today and they added to the worship as always. The sermon lifted up Christ as King of our life and called us to live for Him. The fellowship afterward was great. In the afternoon it was back to the basement . We still haven't found the skating rink for the layout. Poor Pennie was on call all weekend and hass a sore foot. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Janvangogh said...

Been wondering what Tommy UK has been up to lately.

6:05 AM  
Blogger judie said...

Absolutely, positively, wonderful, thought-provoking post! It's true, the way we worship is only a tool. I wish all "people of the cloth" could be open-minded like you and recognize that fact.

Re: your Saying For The Day: not everyone!

6:17 AM  
Blogger judie said...

Oh P.S. I forgot to're getting pretty clever there with your header! Thankfully, there is NO snow here!

6:20 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

lol Dr John,
and some see the world thru rose tinted spectacles

7:47 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

And now,
for some Optical Illusions

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made a really good point about church. I never thought of it that way.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

I, too, have found God in many different types of worship services labeled with many different denominations. I do not worship the doctrine of a denomination, I worship my Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. I am sad when I find people who do not realize there is a distinction.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Gardenwife said...

Howie and I agree with you about our styles of worship being but tools to draw us closer to Him. My feeling is, the Lord made us all unique, with unique ways of communing with Him; within the faith, there is room for personality to express itself in worship, too.

8:12 PM  
Blogger - PRACTiCAL CHiCK said...

You can find God in many types of worship. My post was not to mean that one couldn't. My point is - if you are falling asleep in church...and the President or a rock star walked many would be on their feet clapping and whoo hooing and reaching out or toward that person with their hands? Church should not be a dead experience. If the experience of the individual is one that makes the person not feel that going to church is worth the time or effort (or that they could take a better nap at home), it is time to find a new church.

Letting your personality shine through is one thing, but like I said - if your favorite actor or actress walked probably wouldn't be standing completely still. You'd be beside yourself. Why not act the same way for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? :)

7:40 AM  

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