October 29, 2014
Glad to Go?
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Psalm 122:1
When I read the psalmist’s joy about going to the house of the Lord, I wonder how many today really are glad to go, and I wonder why. The parents pushing the children to hurry up and get dressed, blaming each other for being late, arguing about even having to go because you’re too tired, you have company, one of the parents doesn’t go, etc. are among several obstacles to joyfully going to the house of the Lord.
Why are we sometimes, or often, not glad to go? Why have others quit going altogether? Two reasons come to mind: First, we don’t remember or ever knew, what is truly going on in God’s house. Secondly, not knowing, we don’t prepare ourselves.
Well, what is going on in house of the Lord? Are we there to sing a few songs to pump us up, to pray for sick friends and rain, pay our religious dues of time and treasure, to hear a preacher’s opinion about a social issue and to get “how to” tips on this or that, to remember what Jesus did for us by taking bread and wine, and to see what I can get out of church?
Or, as the term Divine Service more than suggests, are we in the house of the Lord to grow in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his saving work; by receiving God’s law and love through repentance and absolution, by praying for new hearts that He gives through His Spirit, by hearing the whole counsel of His holy, timeless, and inerrant Word applied to our lives, by offering up the sacrifice of praise and presence in thanksgiving for His grace, by receiving His very real-time presence in the Sacrament that goes beyond mere remembrance, and by encouraging one another through sharing all this with fellow believers whom He has called and gathered to encourage us—all as we are singing and speaking in a way that supports all these Divine actions? In the house of the Lord, He is the Host, and He serves. Why would we not want to receive whatever our Lord has to give?
One reason we wouldn’t want to is that we don’t properly anticipate it. How could we do that? Reading the appointed texts for that day ahead of time would heighten our expectations. (At Faith these are provided in the previous bulletin and emailed on Monday.) Getting enough sleep of course is always good for whatever is important to you the following day. Rising early enough to have your own time in the Word and in prayer, asking for a spirit open to receive God’s gifts is helpful. In your heart, forgiving any who have caused offense against you clears the spirit and mind to receive God’s forgiveness in a more profound way. Allowing enough time for unhurried travel brings you to God’s house in a calm spirit. The number one way to anticipate the time of worship is to review again what is going on in God’s House when you do. (See previous paragraph.)
May you be glad to go! Pastor Tom Konz