No kids, no kids, no kids and not their parents this weekend so attendance is back to a comfortable 35 – 40 ‘rarin’-to-go-to-Heaven’ Lutherans spaced evenly throughout the sanctuary. It’s not unlike theater seating during the third weekend of a semi-popular movie: enough people to justify the feature continuing its run but not too many that you end up with a total stranger invading your elbow space. That’s just abby normal. We LCMSers prefer to keep our meet-and-greets at a philosophical level as opposed to the ELCAs who insist on being openly friendly. And touchy. (((shudder!)))
Our sing-a-longs were a mixture of hymns and praises. “Majesty”, “Thy Word”, “Seek Ye First”, and “God of Wonders” were played with piano and acoustic guitar but no kerranging about, thank you very much.
(kerrang (def.) – The sound of a power chord on an electric guitar.)
I am going to say that minus the lesson, the rest of the liturgy went on as ‘normal’. There isn’t really anything ‘normal’ about the presence of God, but it can give an insight about how the Israelites, led by a cloud at day and a flame at night in the desert for forty years, or witnessing the shekhinah, the presence of God in the tabernacle or temple year after year can lead to a complacency that allowed them to be overcome by sin. It can explain how the Jews were in constant trouble with The Lord. When you ignore God, satan fills the vacuum between your ears.
Speaking of ears, Pastor McClean’s sermon was about the sort of things our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5). He delved into the political realm and I’ll try to stay away from that but we’ll see. Those types of things that catch my itching ears aren’t just the sound of my wife’s voice or of my children’s voices but also of certain kinds of music such as The Beatles, Jethro Tull and Alice Cooper. I can include the different sounds I expect to hear in my house including the ones I shouldn’t be hearing. But the apostle Paul meant something much deeper than those situations. He talks about living in a society where the church is pressured to quit being so “old fashioned” and bend on some of its theology and doctrine. You know, if the LCMS just eased up on its views on women in the pulpit or homosexuality then they’d make a lot more converts (ps-God makes converts, people don’t). Sanctuaries would fill up and they’d have all the tithes needed to build a bell tower, increase the size of the parking lot, any number of things. What this kind of talk does is perk the ears of people who agree the church ought to abandon or weaken its foundation in return for a bit of ‘feel good-ism’, or an article online about how a local church ‘saw the light’ and ‘opened its heart’ according to cultural norms. It’s all seems very complicated or mean-spirited or prejudicial for any group of people who operate by a code of instruction, God-given or not. Most of the time, if some effort is given, an offended party can look into the background of an organization and understand why a group believes as it does. The LCMS is not full of dummies who blather on about how they feel about this or what someone on the television said about that, but fully read the Bible, creeds and writings by the greats of the faith including Martin Luther and the many authors of the Book of Concord – a series of confessions of faith. They use reason, faith, common sense and prayer above all to reach conclusions on how scripture expresses Jesus’s love for all mankind and how we as men and women of the church are to treat all humans, no exclusions, on a face to face basis.
How can you be sure that those words that reach your ‘itching ears’ are from God or another source?
( insert broken record here )
Go to church
Read the Bible
Pray … a lot
Join a Bible study
Try just one of these. See what happens.