the view from the pew 6-24-17

Some months ago Holy Cross made changes to its audio/visual protocol. Were these changes radical enough to exclude me from being counted on to fill in running the board in the future?

No.

The board can still be operated with a hand-held remote.

Our hymns were these: “All People Who On Earth Do Dwell” (opening); “Have No Fear Little Flock” (sermon); “Amazing Grace” (offering); “As The Deer” (communion); “You Are My All in All” (closing). Karl played these ably on the piano and most of us sang. We were only about 25 or so in attendance, so few in fact that we could hear Pastor Sattler singing (and he sings just fine). Others just hummed. Hmm.

 

What else did we do? What do we always do? We confessed our sins and were reassured of our forgiveness (why Jesus suffered and died on the Cross). If you are not a Christian and wonder what sorts of things Jesus does, here is one example. You recently hit your little brother out of anger for getting into your stuff. You feel bad about it. Why? Because God has given every person a conscience (two Greek words: con = with and science = knowledge. Conscience means “with knowledge”. It means you know you’ve done something wrong or bad even if you don’t know what it is or if it even has a name. The name of this is sin. How do you get rid of this sin? You can own it and keep it and try to figure out a way to pay for it after you die and *surprise!* you meet a God you didn’t even know existed or did know but ignored. But God won’t accept you because He is holy (pure) and you are not (full of sin) thus the two of you will not exist together. If you can not live with God then you must live with Satan until you pay off your sin. The issue with Hell is that there isn’t anyone there to whom you can work off your sin . Satan can’t cleanse you because He, too, is filthy with sin and deceit. Only Jesus can cleanse you of sin. On the cross He accepted every sin past, present and future and took them with Him when He died. When He arose three days later, all the sins were forgiven in Him. The sins you committed have been forgiven by Him but for you to get any benefit from that He calls on you to trust Him and believe He has done this for you.

Jesus is always calling you to be with Him. Maybe a friend has asked you to join her in prayer or go with her to church. Maybe you heard a song about Jesus on the radio, or read someone’s opened Bible on a table. Very few people have ever heard a big, booming voice from the heavens call their names. The next time a person asks you about Jesus, give a listen.

What else does Jesus do? He keeps the universe in order. He makes the planets hang in their places. If He tells me how, I’ll tell you how.

We prayed for the Church of Christ where ever it exists. We prayed for the Gospel to reach all the corners of Earth; that world leaders act sanely and compassionately; that doctors and nurses capably care for and heal all who are sick; that first responders do their jobs without fear or hassle of their surroundings, among other prayers. We prayed for those in need in Holy Cross, people suffering from cancer, injuries from falls, and old age issues. We prayed for our children and our parents. We prayed for those who work at Holy Cross.

We came together at the altar for Communion. Pastor was short a person to gather empty communion cups. After she took bread and wine, my wife, Susan, stepped onto the altar and helped Pastor with the sacrament.

Pastor Sattler’s sermon was titled “Appropriate Fear“. In Matthew 10:5a, 21-33, Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to spread The Word. He gives them warning that the world, by nature is sinful and unclean, and because of it spreading God’s Word will be difficult. In Roman times, the leader was the emperor, who saw himself as god and consequently there could be no room for an other god, even God Himself. The Jews at the time read the Bible as more of an instruction book on how to behave. Yes, they believed in God but the way to Him was through obedience found in  the laws of The Torah. They were not keen with anyone proclaiming a carpenter from Galilee as God. Even today, most people who call themselves Christians regard the Bible as a book of rules and their way to Heaven is based mostly on behavior and following the rules. Pastor mentioned that 60% of Lutherans believe this. What does this mean? It means there will likely be many surprised souls on Judgment Day. Blame could be spread several ways for this. Let us look at one: Me and you. Those of us who call ourselves Christians. It isn’t hard to understand why. Studies have proven the biggest fear in humans, even above death, is embarrassment, in particular embarrassment through public speaking. Who wants to stand in front of a group and speak to a presumably hostile audience? Who wants to get distracted with hurled insults, lose their concentration and fumfer for words while dodging rotten fruit? In many places of the world you could be arrested for speaking the Word of Jesus. In some parts of the world you might be killed for it.

It is difficult to overcome this fear but overcome it you can. No one expects you to become an extreme speaker of the Gospel, having no fear when or where you open your mouth but there are times and places where being subtle works best. On the other hand, it doesn’t  help to have a phobia of public speaking. Phobias cause people to shut down, their fear so great they are little help to anybody. Somewhere between these two extremes is where you want to pray to be. Trust The Holy Ghost to guide you where you can help best. You are one person. You don’t have to see the fruit of your work if you have trusted in God. He will guide that person on to whom he sees fit. You do your part, others do theirs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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