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Will you let them see you….

Devotional after a long Day:

 15  Rejoice with others when they rejoice, and be sad with those in sorrow. 16  Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. .  Romans 12:15-16 (NJB)

442         Diamonds are polished with diamonds…, and souls with souls. (1)

On Sunday, the people of my church will promise to a little baby, to be there when she is full of joy, to cry with her when her heart aches.  In all things, to pray for her, and to remind her that the Lord is with her, for He has claimed her and united her to Himself.  And as a baptized belever, she will grow in this as well, and as we struggle, she will be there for us, and as we know Christ’s peace, she will as well.

That’s the way Paul says we are supposed to be, as Jesus church, the people called together as His own, whom He calls His friends (yeah He does – look it up) But since you are His sibling and son or daughter of God, as am I, we are siiblings, we are united together in Christ.  As Paul says

25  This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26  If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27  All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. .1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (NLT) 

But this is where we in the western world, seem to short circuit.  We don’t like people to know our “business”.  We don’t mind them knowing our successes, our joys, but dare we let them see us when we are crushed, bruised, hurting, anxious and scared?  When our health is failing, when someone is breaking our heart, when we are lost in sin, when we can’t escape its trap on our own, the causes of our pain and brokenness,

But will we dare to reveal ourselves, so that others can cry with us?  So that others can be there, and remind us Jesus is there.. Will we let them see us, let them minister to us, cr with us?  Will we we let their presence remind us of His presence, their love remind us of His love.

For the sake of the body… will we let it do what bodies are supposed to do?

I know it’s uncomfortable, I know its awkward, and we fear the embarassment….

O well, we are a family, let’s get used to being one…

For as that family, we have Christ, we have the Faher, and we have the Holy Spirit, the one who’s title is, the Comforter.

Will we cry out together, Lord have Mercy! and Maranatha! and Hallelujah?

If you want to see a church that does this… come join us at Concordia…

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1964-1965). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Liturgy, Language and the People it is for:

Discussion thought of the Day:

2  Those who speak in strange tongues do not speak to others but to God, because no one understands them. They are speaking secret truths by the power of the Spirit. 3  But those

Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Eva...

Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2006), 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

who proclaim God’s message speak to people and give them help, encouragement, and comfort. 4  Those who speak in strange tongues help only themselves, but those who proclaim God’s message help the whole church.    1 Corinthians 14:2-4 (TEV) 

Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. And not only has Paul commanded to use in the church a language understood by the people 1 Corinthians 14:2-9, but it has also been so ordained by man’s law. The people are accustomed to partake of the Sacrament together, if any be fit for it, and this also increases the reverence and devotion of public worship.  (1)

Last night, during the time my son and I spend reading scripture and now the Augsburg Confession together ( in Kindergarten – he chose that after 10 times reading the small catechism to me!) we came across this passage, one I think my denomination overlooks I think.  I know I do – simply because in a conversation a month ago, I brought up the quote from 1 Corinthians 14 and was told that it wasn’t speaking about Latin and German (and High English) but rather (their words) just speaking in tongues.

Sigh, I allowed them to get away with it – forgetting that in this Article – it is made all to clear that our spiritual forefathers  were talking about using language that people know – and use regularly.

I have also backed down a bit when people claim that the liturgy is not for people seeking God, but rather for the initiated, for those that cherish words like salutary, words like Nunc Dimitis, and grasp the many varied and intricate ways the mass point people to the fact that Christ is merciful, loving and present in their lives.  This is a reaction to those who claim that the church service must be seeker-sensitive ( I think they mean seeker driven – but that is my opinion)  Again – look at our Lutheran Confessions, the ceremonies of our liturgy are not for those with all the knowledge – but are to benefit those without such knowledge.  It’s not for the spiritually elite, but those of us who have been spiritually bankrupt – without understanding what we need to know about Jesus. ( His love, His mercy, His presence – heck even the middle one needs to be unpacked — mercy= His compassionate and careful cleansing us of all that is unjust – our sin and the sins of others that affect our lives )

I so love the attitude of Melancthon in writing this – an attitude that shows me how much our forefathers cared about those who didn’t know God, or those who knew of Him, but didn’t know Him.  I love the balance that says – what we’ve done is good – great – this liturgy speaks of Christ – but let us speak in a language those uninitiated in the faith.

Let our words proclaim His love, His mercy, His presence in our lives!  Let those words be such that they are heard, and treasured.

And may we see the glory of God that is with us, as we see the awe in faces as they hear and know the love of God – and with us begin to explore its depths, heights, breadt and width!  AMEN!

(1)  — Augsberg Confession, Article XXIV

Graveyard Shift @ Denny’s, Memories, and Ministry now…

Devotion of the Day:

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (TEV) 26 Now remember what you were, my friends, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28 He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29 This means that no one can boast in God’s presence. 30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free. 31 So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.” 

This morning, after a very early dental appt, (Awesome Dentist is Dr. Grammas) I went to breakfast at a place I spent all to much time in college.

You see, I worked graveyard shift – both in High School and College, and I went to the Denny’s that was up the street from my dentist – the very one I worked at.

Memories of the kids from Chapman College – regular Friday night customers, and the staff from a local night club called Oscar’s, and the 3 couples that came in every night, ordered 3 bottles of wine and a plate of nachos.  Sam the Limo driver (a great tipper btw) and them Lisa and Vicky – my coworkers, and John and Miguel the cooks.  My senior pastor’s mom – who always left me very encouraging comment cards (they still sit in my file cabinet – one rubber banded handful fo them)  – I was taken back there…even thought the restaurant has been radically remodeled.  It’s been over 25 years since I worked there, yet the memories still are powerful….

The thoughts also made me think of this unique journey I’ve been on, and where I am now, of what I’ve done – of what I do.

It is a unique life, that of being a pastor – that of serving people when life it at its hardest, when it is at its most complicated, when they realize that they need God to come to them.  It is often then, that people finally listen a bit (there are some that always listen – but the bulk of people we minister too… get to distracted by life.)  they finally realize what it means to know God is with you.  When all else falls away, when our culture is seen to be worthless, when money or prestige, or possessions can not make a difference.  What has been set aside, what is considered not worth the time, becomes such, that which is passively rejected – now means something.  And pastors and priests are there to provide it.

What would life look like, if we didn’t ignore our faith?  What would it look like if we didn’t neglect our salvation?  How different would our lives look, and how would we spend our time?   Would we stress out as much, when the world seems to collapse?

What would it look like if we daily realized,  30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free.”

To be honest I am not sure – but I know today – we can realize this… and may our lives reflect it to others…

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