It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything but I’ve been a little busy (and lazy). I recently got confirmed into a Lutheran congregation that is part of the LCMS. I am very blessed by the congregation and I want to return the blessing as much as I can.
In college I found it kind of difficult to get involved in church. I switched between churches rather frequently and I never had reservation going to someone else’s church. Going to someone else’s church isn’t bad, but I treated it much the same as one would treat trying a new flavor of ice cream. At the beginning of my senior year I started to seriously consider the importance of church and the duty I had to commit to a local congregation. I am thankful for the conviction God gave me to look into this and pursue a solution, but I am even more thankful for the outcome.
As a political science major and an evangelical I placed a lot of stock in duty (I still do). I recognized that as a father I would need to be in a church for the sake of my family. I also believed that church was an effective makeweight that helps good democracy happen. Whereas all this may be true to some extent, it is an incorrect reason to attend the Divine Service on Sunday morning.
It is our privilege to receive from God. I am reminded of David’s intent to build the house of the LORD in 2 Samuel 7. God’s response is to redirect David’s attention. He then gives an overwhelming list of all that He has done for David and, even more, what He is going to do. I believe this passage speaks to our desire to bring glory to God and how much we miss the mark when we try.
I am struck by how much we think we can do to glorify God. How can inglorious creatures glorify a God who is glorious? It seems impossible! But it’s not. The way God is glorified through us is grace. God is glorified when He gives to us. Take 2 Samuel 7 for example. Better yet, consider the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. The worst amount of suffering that could possibly have happened to someone was taken on by Jesus Christ, for our sakes, in one of the most glorious acts we know. There is nothing more to offer but my praise and thanksgiving and, even then, that is only the response to the glorious work God has done.
As I conclude, I turn to the Divine Service itself to emphasize my point. The service starts off with confession and absolution, recognizing we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. We then move on to the reading and preaching of God’s word where the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to us through His word. After that, we proceed to the Lord’s Table where we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, “shed for many for the remission of sins.” We then conclude with the Nunc Dimittis and a hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The entire service is about us receiving God’s forgiveness and being washed by His word. I go to the Divine Service because I know I need Him. And He is glorified.