It’s Faith-refresher Wednesday!
Our pastor shared this story during his sermon last Sunday. There was a Lutheran church that was evaluating how they were doing with their ministry in order to reach out to more families in the community and grow the church. One suggestion that was being considered was to change the name of the church from St. Mark Lutheran Church to a name that eliminated the word “Lutheran” such as “Community Christian Church.” The idea was that they didn’t want to turn people off if they couldn’t or never had related to the specific Lutheran denomination and to just focus on Christ and Christianity. One faithful old church member was not at all on board with this suggestion and stood up to state his argument. He fiercely argued that, “I’ve been a Lutheran for fifty years and NO ONE is going to make me become a CHRISTIAN!”
The congregation, of course, laughed out loud at this story.
I laughed too but then …
… it made me think 🙂
It made me take a good look at myself – to question – what do people see when they look at me? When I am at church they see the faithful worshipper. But how about when I am at work? Or shopping with strangers around me at the store? Do I (do you) put on a façade of Christianity when my surroundings require it? Is it put on for show? Or am I (are you) showing your true colors?
Am I part of Sunday worship because I like being seen at the country club of churches, or because family expects me to show up every Sunday? Do you praise the Pope and the Catholic Church … because that’s the way you were brought up? Or do you attend the church your friends attend – because you want to be with your friends? Do you get free coffee and donuts on Sunday, so that’s why you go?
Ted and I talked a bit about the pastor’s story. Ted said that he wished we could get rid of denominations – the different churches – and realize that we are all worshipping the same God so we should take away the title that divides us: Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist, etc. – and unify. Personally, I don’t think we can do that. All people eat – right? Yet all people don’t like eating the same thing, hence we have different kinds of restaurants for different palates. I think the same goes for churches. For the most part, Christians believe in Christ – all the same – but some prefer worshipping in the old liturgical way, others like contemporary, others like structured services, and still others prefer a spontaneous, free-flowing service … different flavors!
But whatever KIND of church you worship in – is it just your Sunday habit? Are you just pretending?
Why are you going to church?
Is it for show? Is it for someone else to see? Are you hiding behind a denomination?
The story challenged me to look at myself and my motives. So, I challenge you to do the same.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!