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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (July 2012)

posted Aug 27, 2012, 5:00 AM by Punxsy Lutheran Parish Pastor

Pastor’s Notes

Have you ever been asked this question – Why is going to worship (or “going to church”) so important?  In many conversations, I hear people telling me that they can go off into the forest to commune with God.  Or, they can find a secluded place for prayer and meditation.  Yes, those places are great to have a spiritual, one-on-one experience with the Triune God.  At times, even Jesus went alone to pray (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:22-23; Luke 5:15-16).  But the New Testament also witnesses to times when Jesus’ followers came together “devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)  The word “worship” may not be in this passage, but I think we can conclude it was implied as a typical activity for those who followed Christ. 


Why is worshipping together important? 

1.     The community of faith is a gathering community.  We have been baptized into the community of Christ.  That involves getting together to be in community with God and with one another.  Sure, we can gather as a community other times – for Bible Study, prayer groups, meals, social events, etc.  But the most frequent opportunity we have to gather together is during worship.  Plus, when we worship, we gather around the Word and Sacrament.    

2.     The community of faith is a gathering where we hear the Word of God proclaimed to us!  We hear this Word (the saving acts of God in Christ Jesus) proclaimed when the Scriptures are read, when the sermon is preached, when we lift up our voices in song, and when we offer our prayers to God.  When we attend worship service we experience the many means God’s Word is proclaimed to us.  Hearing this proclamation is important because it revitalizes us each week to leave the place of our worship and make disciples of all people.  In the gathering of worship we are promised that God’s Spirit will be among us in our work and reminded that Christ’s presence is in our lives. 

3.     The community of faith is a gathering where we receive the visible forms of God’s grace: Holy Baptism and Communion.  When we attend worship, we see the baptismal font.  The font reminds us of our baptism and the promises that come with our baptism: we are forgiven of our sins, we are united to Christ, and we are made part of the Church.  When we attend worship, we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  When we hear the words “this is my body given for you… this is my blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins” we are reminded that Christ went to the cross to free us from the powers of sin, death, and the devil.  It is within worship we receive these visible assurances that God does love us, lifts us to new life, and promises to save us. 


God in Christ calls us to be in community with one another.  Joining together in worship of the great works God has done through Jesus Christ brings us together to experience that community and the promises found within the gathering.  Gathering for worship nourishes us with the Word and Sacrament so we can scatter and sow the seed of the kingdom. 


In Christ,


Pastor Maureen