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Heaven Now

June 23, 2011 1 comment

What’s the good word? We pray every Sunday the word’s of the Lord’s Prayer. And in that prayer we say, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I truly believe that there is no way we are puppets being controlled by God. I am a free will believer, and because of that, I believe we have the capability of accomplishing what we pray for in that line of the Lord’s prayer, and I believe that God thinks we have the power to do so as well. I believe that God believes that our actions can heal. We have the power to bring hope, to bring peace, to redeem, to restore,to bring light into dark circumstances. But, if we are expending ourselves in evacuation theology then the only one who benefits is the one who is getting out of here. Yet, all over scripture is this idea that we are responsible to and for the “other” who is need.

Martin Luther suggested that we see the Bible as a cradle for Christ. Jesus spent his life defending the widow, the orphan, and the sojourner, as his people were so often commanded to do in Hebrew Scripture. He even met with Pharisees when they wanted him to. Jesus healed the sick without doing a background check. He forgave sins without seeing a ledger sheet of moral assets and liabilities.

And so Jesus invites us to go into these place and create peace. God believes that we are capable of this. But, to do this, we have stick around. We have to be willing to make heaven come here. We have to stay and be with those who are living in hell on earth and create heaven where there seems to be none. That’s our calling. That’s what we are praying for. For a long time when I prayed that I thought that I was free from doing anything. That I was praying that God would do it all. But it’s a partnership, and as his followers, God believes we can help to create heaven on earth too. In Jesus we see a God who calls us into a life of purpose and value and who invites us to be God’s hands and heart as co-creators of the world God imagines. And that’s the good word for today.

 

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Authentic Worship

June 6, 2011 1 comment

 

 

 

What’s the good word? I read a passage this morning from Scripture, “God is Spirit, and his worshippers muyst worship in the Spirit and the truth” John 4:24. It got me to thinking about worship. We are about to start a new worship series on the Spirit, so it seems to fit where I am at right now. I remember being told on a number of occasions, “Better get church out in an hour.” It’s good thinking actually. I think people start to zone out at the one hour mark. But it also does lend itself to worship being more about a formula to make that happen, rather than worshipping in the Spirit. Now, I’ve also worshipped at a congregation that did that, and an hour and forty-five minutes later we were through. At times it didn’t feel that long, and at times it TOTALLY did. There are a lot of reasons for creating worship based on a formula. It’s easier. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. Lutherans follow a liturgy that one can follow to the tee. I think too, it also helps us to recapture moments in the past and try to recreate them.

But, as I was reminded in my devotion, like all relationships, our relationship with God is meant to be progressive, not repetative. Imagine doing the same thing every day, or every week with your best friend, or family for that matter. It would be dull. It would be shallow. It would be…well just plain boring. I believe we can engage with God through worship in different ways, using a range of dynamics. The most important thing about worship should be our engaging with God. It’s about our relationship with our Creator. When this happens, it matters a lot less if everyone hits the right note, or if the band hits the right solo at exactly the right time or even if the particular song is the one you want to sing. What matters is if worship is providing you a space to connect with God—it’s not a formula or a series of easy answers. I needed to be reminded of that this week. What about you? What does worship look like to you?

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