Worship is free
Engaging in the worship and church as a Christian
Man, however, needs none of these things [good works] for his righteousness and salvation. Therefore he should be guided in all his works by this thought and contemplate this one thing alone, that he may serve and benefit others in all that he does, considering nothing except the need and advantage of his neighbor -- Martin Luther "Freedom of a Christian"
Worship and Community
We are to hear of God's great mercy and His laws and not despise listening to such wonderful and blessed teachings. As the years go by, many Christians have seen and poked at the weaknesses within a church community to justify retaliation and skipping the church service and community altogether. What a ghastly idea it is to leave such a community because of a weakness to devalue the those that they have issues. To stay away from the Church worship and events because of the weaker brother or sister who is broken is to say that you have very little care for the institution and brethren. There isn't a church out there that has such broken individuals who perpetuate righteousness and snooty personalities as better. But perhaps these individuals carry more weight than they should. They are just as broken as those that avoid worship through excuses of work, individual practices and finding God elsewhere. I assure you, God has elected to not be found but presented through the mouth of a called preacher to deliver the promise to the individual.
Bouncing from Church to Church, study to study, or place to place to find God the individual will utterly fall. That is because the individual will no longer find "happiness" where he or she once felt the calm and peace to which s/he relates to God's good graces. When somebody who is broken stirs the waters, creates a hostile environment, or creates dissension only shows that that individual is broken and needs more love and grace than the one who is hurt and disbands the community because of this sinner. Remember that it is quite possible that you should be there for the individual to create forgiveness and acceptance in all their dirty clothes that are blood stained with all those that may disagree with them. Christ works powerfully through forgiveness instead of a retraction to the upstairs room and locking the door. For it is Christ that comes to this locked room to unlock the hearts of man and he does it through his community and preacher. It is a sure bet that this may hurt and be uncomfortable and a slow process, but it is a gift none-the-less.
Remember that God is not present or delivered when you withdraw from the community and others, but found in the Word and Sacraments of Baptism,, Absolution and Forgiveness, and the Body and Blood when administered to the group. If God was to be found in friendships, community, and happiness the world is crushed by its own weight of sin and death. It is one of the greatest deaths of a church when dissension becomes more important than hearing the Word and gifts presented. Becoming or being a Christian is not dependent upon what you do, but what you decree and echo. That is to say that becoming a Christian is done by the elements and presentation of God through a preacher.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. —ROMANS 8:28-30
So what happens with an individual, group, pastor, or other offends and you flee? The Church itself cries two-fold. It cries for the individual doing the harm even when they do not realize they have don so, and the Church cries for the individual that has left for other ideas abandoning duty to the neighbor. Sadly, we do feel the weight of those who hurt and who have hurt. Nobody said being a Christian would be without its hurt and struggles. Let it be known that those that are blessed will be in mourning for those that harm and those that are hurt. Indeed the waters are thick and muddied in the community because of sin, but be assured that the community does not make the Christian. Because the community is full of Christians, theist, atheist, and more, we should at all times be repentant and loving. Taking care and thoughtful concern with delight.
Our righteousness and hard head does not create or show that one is more saved then the other, but it does show who broke you are.
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. —2 THESSALONIANS 2 : 1 3 - 1 4 ,
As pastor I give thanks. I Give thanks for all the brokenness in the church as I see sinners in need of healing. I give thanks for the Lord who delivers wonderful promises and laws to the community. I give thanks for the sacraments hat are to be delivered to the sinners to call them by name. Let us rejoice in knowing that God's provisions to not count on the individuals of the community, but rather that the provisions rely solely in His words and gifts. Just as God gave meaning to the light, dark, water, clods, earth, heaven (Gen. 1) and man, He delivers meaning and purpose through his gifts by calling you.
Remember that the Church is not full of superheros but of ordinary people in need of a promise. And when one abandons the community over a small stifle, the community needs this calling and promise even more so that they know that their life is rooted not in the broken sinners of the church who operate with selfishness, but in the very word of God. Just as those that do harm need the promise, those that leave because of the temperament of another individual need the promise also. The difference is when you leave in search of a better world, you leave the one that can give you life. Perhaps those that stay and are indeed a culprit are ones with a promise, while those that find God elsewhere are in the trenches of a war they cannot win.
One should revel in the Word that has given them life, even if it be among the chief of sinners. Know that presence of Christ cannot and will not be found in the attitudes of the broken, but in the forgiveness of the one that IS broken because of His mercy, Jesus Christ. Join us on Sundays at 9 AM CST at Hazel Run Lutheran Church @ 101 Chestnut Ave, Hazel Run, MN 56241. Or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HazelRunLutheranChurch.
Peace to you from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. --Reverend Cody Mills