the view from the pew 3-25-17

Until Communion, between my temples was a grinding fog clouding my judgment (I think) so read this view with a little bit of discretion. Maybe it was the Living Christ in the wine and bread, or just focusing on walking to the altar that cleared my head but no matter, it was nice to sit with a clear head.

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The informal worship songs had me by the back of the neck. There was nothing wrong with the instrumenting or the singing, but some of them were slightly altered versions I wasn’t familiar with. “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” was the opening song, with a small change. “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love” was the sermon song and a familiar one for me but, again, slightly different, enough so I just sat and kept quiet. No one else seemed to have an issue with it. I blame it on the static behind my eyes. “Make Us One” was the offering song. It was there. “Breathe” (not the Pink Floyd version) was sung during Communion. Our closing song, “Your Grace is Enough” was the recessional. Familiar yet changed a bit to throw me. So, no, I don’t recall having sung much.

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Pastor McClean’s sermon was about relationships Christians need to have with those inside the church as well as outside the church. This is a sermon that needs to be given once a week until we get it right. I’m not criticizing Pastor for giving a sermon on a topic repeated repeatedly, but that we, sitting in the pews, or in this case, “on our hands”, need to work up a bit of gumption and start creating relationships with others. How can ‘the lost’ have ‘a Friend in Jesus’ if they don’t have a friend in me to lead them there? Humans are made to be in relationships. It’s why we band together to help others in distress after a disaster. Did you ever wonder why you can’t smell anything while you are asleep? It’s so we have to depend on others to protect us from smoke and fire, dangerous, smelly animals and, well, really just those two situations. Relationships are why we most of us dance, to find a mate for the future. Relationships lead us to clarity, to help determine who we are as a race, a community, a neighborhood, a family, and a spouse. A problem with relationships is that we tend to encapsulate ourselves in a group we feel comfortable with. It isn’t until we see others in distress that we move out of our shelters to help them. A hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, riot and other natural or man-made disasters leave physical evidence of carnage. These are easy to see and we can declare victory over them by how many lives we save, people we feed, debris we collect or houses we rebuild.

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A Christian’s biggest blind spot is seeing the non-physical world where ultimately every unsaved human soul will have to suffer an unending catastrophe. How can a Christian spot those in need? Can you spot a hugless person? This isn’t someone who just needs a comforting human touch but also a person who simply wants to be asked what their story is. Sometimes Christians, when opportunities arise, want to tell the story of Jesus and what He has done for us that we forget to ask the other’s story. Unless we know how they came to be lost and undone how can we possibly know the correct way to help or the right words to say? The most difficult way to find out is the most direct. That is to ask, “Are you saved?”. It is the most difficult because we are afraid to ask strangers because they might punch us in the noses. The more we get to know anybody, the easier it is to ask … eventually. The Lord is giving us plenty of time before He pulls the trigger on the end-of-the-world to work with people, but every person has a much smaller window of opportunity seeing that they’ll most likely die before Jesus returns.

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