the view from the pew 11-12-16

Rumors swirl that our sound-man, Brad, has been abducted by aliens which might be why he was missing last Saturday. And by aliens, I don’t mean from other planets or dimensions since we have no proof they exist but I mean ‘time aliens’, people from the past or the future who swoop in on us, take what they want, in this case, Brad, presumably to run the sound board in another church. Archaeologists have found proof that people lived in the past. Such items as plastic spoons, styrofoam egg cartons, S & H Green stamps, and candy cigarettes have been found in garbage burial mounds off the sides of abandoned highways, while stone temples, stone pyramids and stone henges have been hiding in plain sight in front of us for hundreds of years. And people from the future? Well, we know they exist because on The Facebook I saw my next door neighbor post a picture of her grandchild wearing a onesie with ‘Future President’ stitched on it. Other proofs can be found in modern day documents such as agreements for down payments on new carpeting and contracts for future paid-for burial arrangements (nothing says ‘future people’ in my book than persons agreeing to die years from now). Even Hollywood promises a rock solid future by promising to produce endless film trilogies based on Marvel Comics heroes.

As it was, I agreed to ‘flip the pages’ of the service from the comfort of my pew with ‘the clicker’. Our hymns included “See This Wonder in the Making”, “Have No Fear Little Flock”, “Take My Life and Let It Be”, “Amazing Grace”, and the recessional was “This Holy Place”, a song written by Don Wharton. He visited Holy Cross well over a decade ago now and told us of his near tragic experience of surviving a plane wreck off the coast of Alaska. No matter what time of year, that’s gotta be a cold and nasty deal. Just a note: Before Susan and I locked the truck to come inside we were listening to Parliament Funkadelic’s “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker” on the satellite radio. I told her I’d like to play that at my funeral. She said ‘no’. Upon review, I understand why she said that. Any song played in the church must pass the LCMS music test. A song played in church not only has to be about Jesus but must be in right standing with the doctrine it teaches. The chorus from George Clinton’s song automatically disqualifies it from Holy Cross liturgy:

Ow, we want the funk
Give up the funk
Ow, we need the funk
We gotta have that funk

As a tythe-paying Lutheran, I’m not sure what ‘funk’ is but I know for sure it doesn’t appear in any of our creeds. It’s not even somewhere in the middle of The Athanasian Creed, you know, the very long one we read in the summer when most of the congregation is on vacation. It’s possible that ‘giving up the funk’ is a Methodist sacrament.

We had another ‘greatest’ service because of baptism. A youngling named Adaline was made secure in salvation through Jesus and now it is up to the Church, with the help of The Holy Ghost, to guide her on her way through a Godly life.

Pastor Sattler’s sermon lesson was based on the Gospel reading, Luke 21:5-36, the end of the world. The other two readings from Malachi and 2 Thessalonians also cover the end times. The modern lectionary (a list or book of portions of the Bible appointed to be read at a church service) was developed around 1969 and included in the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1982. All those years ago no one knew that the readings for this weekend could be used by some to justify the contentiousness of our recent election. About half the country think the results will lead to the end of the world. Oddly enough, the other half of the country thought the same eight years prior. Pastor assured us that no matter ‘if’ one of the sides is right that both sides are actually right. We are living at the end of the world Jesus spoke of. The End began at His crucifixion and continues through all the earthquakes, monsoons, wars, rumors of wars, flames from above and monsters from below this very day. All things that happen are used to do the work of The Lord. Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70. Why? To get Christians out of the safe confines of the city and the temple out to the stretches of land where the story of Jesus hadn’t been told yet. When we Christians sit around all comfy like, do not be surprised if God allows our world to be shaken so we’ll tell others about their ultimate need for salvation in Jesus the Christ.

No matter what side of the political fence you sit, either side has the correct answers to some problems. Government can perform some functions better such like running the military or collecting revenue while the private sector is more adept at detail oriented tasks such as running small businesses, research and development, and the arts. Both sides can be right but both sides can also be corrupted by selfish motives. While the world dickers over the best approach of how to run its dealings, it can be said that following Jesus is the only way to be given a peaceful heart, a Godly nature, and the grace of salvation. Government is given to us as a blessing through Him to deliver us a world of peace and security. It is sin that gets in the way of Godly leadership when leaders treat their citizens brutally or unfairly. From a macro level, it is easy to say that Jesus will take care of us in the long run. He is building us rooms in His mansions and setting a feast for the ages because that is exactly what He is doing. From a micro, day to day level, everything looks and feels a lot more harsh. Pain hurts and happiness seems short lived, sleep is interrupted then must we wake up and go through it all again. This is why Jesus urges us to band together as a group. We need to attend service together, serve the poor and needy together, study the Bible together and listen to others tell us their woes. We don’t have to be perfect but we do need to be ‘there’.

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