Bishop and Christian*, August 2016

Pick Your Pew

We’ve all heard the jokes about (or maybe known) people who were very particular about “their” pew in church. At the least, they were annoyed by people sitting where they normally sat; at worst, they brusquely told the person (perhaps a visitor), “You’re sitting in my pew!” I think that happens pretty seldom anymore, and rightly so.

However, there is something to be said for picking a seat and sticking to it week after week after week. Certainly not in order to make visitors feel unwelcome when they sit in “our” pew. But for another reason. Imagine a Christian congregation where people are very intentional about sitting in the same places every week. Imagine where you would sit. And then think of the faces around you. What if the person next to you were missing from the Lord’s house for a week or two, and you decided to give that person a call because you missed his or her presence where the Lord is present? Imagine a congregation (this one!) where the Lord’s Word and His Body and Blood are so integral to the Christian life, so formative of the communion of God’s holy ones, that a missing member of the Body of Christ is a missing part of us. These are the people whom God has placed here, and there is not a single one who is dispensable.

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Bishop and Christian*, July 2016

You Are What You Read (Part 2)

Last month, we considered the goal of the Scriptures in giving us Jesus and transforming us into His Image—not so much by how we read the Scriptures, but by how they read us into the salvation story of the Father and the Son and the Spirit. They read us by the Law, then they read us into the Creed through creation, the Son becoming man, and the Spirit creating faith to trust what Jesus has done for us. We are taught how to pray, and we learn how God has chosen to give us Jesus with His saving work from cross and empty tomb through Baptism, Absolution, and Supper. Then we are sent back out into the world, having received the Love of God in Christ, to serve our neighbors in love by what God has given each of us to do (vocation).

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