Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 31 – The Glory Of God’s Church

“On the holy mount stands the city He founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah.  Among those who know Me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush— ‘This one was born there,’ they say.  And of Zion it shall be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her'; for the Most High Himself will establish her. The LORD records as He registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there.’ Selah.  Singers and dancers alike say, ‘All my springs are in you.'”  Psalm 87:1-7

Devotional Thought For The Day

As we think about the New Year, we often think about things we would like to change about our lives.  One of the things that we lament most about life within the church is the seeming lack of interest among many of the younger people.  Though “they were born there,” that is, they were reborn to faith and spiritual life through Holy Baptism and nurtured in faith and new life in Sunday School and Confirmation instruction, they drift away from the church during their high school and college years, and many never come back.  Why is it that there is no reverence, respect, and deep gratification for the simple fact that “this one was born there” – that is, reborn within the church?

I do not believe that the fault lies so much with the children – they were nurtured in their attitudes about the church by the people around them, significantly the parents and grandparents, but also by other adults, by their peers who were imbued with their views of the church by their parents, and also by peers and others whose parents hate and despise the church and have intentionally trained their children to think the same.  Even within the more active members of the church there is often little of this deep seated reverence and love and respect for the church, and for those who “were born there.”  Though they might not say anything negative about the church, and certainly encourage their children to be part of the church, in various ways they reveal that there are many other things in life more important than the church, and hence more important than faith and renewed spiritual life with Christ.  Whether skiing, a football game, a morning of sleeping in, some form of “family” time, or even getting to church but as though it were some onerous chore, children get the message – church is not beautiful and wonderful and the most glorious thing we are a part of, but something of lesser importance.  When parents do not stay for Bible Study, it is less likely that the children, even if they are forced to stay for Sunday School, will think much of Bible Study and church.

So if we are looking for something to change in our own lives, there is nothing more important than changing our view and valuation of the church, and hoping that this catches on with other people.  We will have to get past some of the things we find distasteful about our “church” – whether it is people we find hard to like, or aspects of the worship service we don’t appreciate, or the personality of the pastor, or even aspects of our building.  We will have to focus exclusively on God’s involvement in the life of the church, His promise to be with us whenever two or three gather in His Name; His promise to distribute forgiveness, life, and salvation through His Word and Sacrament; His promises to richly bless those who love Him and serve Him; the reality that those who believe in Him have eternal life in the glory of His heavenly kingdom.  We will have to come to so value and love His church that we are in awe of all those who have been “born there,” so enthralled with His precious gift of the church that others will be infected with love of the church.  I’m not talking about the external things of the church, but the internal things of the kingdom of God – but hopefully, all of the external things serve the building up of faith and new life in people.

People are attracted to and adopt the positive valuation of those things that others find deeply valuable, compelling, and of ultimate importance.  How many people in your church would view their church in this way, as the most valuable, compelling, and important thing in the world?  It can start with you – and it can spread from you, perhaps still to your children, and certainly to others.  It can already be seen in the lives and conversations of some.  Let us encourage one another, and also those who may not yet have come to the same deep love of God and His church.  Perhaps 2013 will be a year when others will see the deep and cherished value of God’s church, the value He Himself puts upon His church, and will join us in marveling at how God blesses His church!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, our sinful nature not only has no reverence or respect for You and Your church, it is repulsed by all good.  We must continue our struggles against these sinful impulses and thoughts, and put the old Adam to death.  Inflame our hearts through the wonders of Your love, the great blessedness of Your kingdom, that others may be infected with Your love.  May all that we do be out of love for You and Your church – and for no other reason.  So may we enhance, rather than detract from, the glory of Your kingdom.  Amen.