How I love your dwelling place, O Lord of Armies.
2 My soul grows weak and even wastes away, as I long for the courtyards of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:1-2
As a pastor, I'm not completely clueless! (Well maybe a little bit) I know that sometimes there are little kids and maybe big kids and for that matter some adults who don't want to go to church. When asked why not, there are all kinds of excuses. I am too tired … because I got up too early or stayed up too late. Or this is my only day to relax and I prefer to sleep in and stay in my pajamas and watch TV or I want to go and do something "fun" stuff, instead.
In some ways, I can understand where people are coming from, because sometimes I know that the devil is working hard in my own heart and life to lead me away from God and I can find all kinds of excuses for the sins I commit. It's not difficult to imagine that people may not want to attend church at times, for whatever reasons they may come up with.
But, if you and I were to act on these impulses to sin in our everyday lives such as skipping church, what are we proving? We are proving the truth that we are shortsighted, self-centered and sinners. We are proving our own point that we can't see how worshiping the Lord is one of the greatest joys he gives us.
The writer of Psalm 84 talks about how the people of Israel longed to come to God's house. They would make that trip at whatever the cost, and even better than just going to church, they "love" his dwelling place. They realized that they needed their Lord because the Lord brings them what their sinful souls so desperately needed. They knew they needed the life and forgiveness that only their Lord can give and what better place to find this love than God's house.
Maybe we need to change our perspective on church. We need to realize that church is not about a place or building, but about a person, the Lord. It's about God's relationship with us. He doesn't want to lose touch with us, but he desires to share his forgiveness with to us because of his gracious love for us. And the proof of that love is found in Jesus Christ.
It is true that we don't see the Lord with our own two eyes when we worship at church. That might tempt us to lose sight of the person when we come to church and the purpose of why we are at church. But at church we can hear God's voice in the Bible, which tells us about Jesus and how he took on flesh and blood for us. At church we can hear God's voice in the Bible and in the Sacraments of Baptism and Lord's Supper which clearly tell us how Jesus saved us from all our sins (even the sin of not wanting to go to church) by dying for our sin on the cross. He did all this so that you and I could one day see him with our own eyes and stand joyfully before him in heaven.
If we look at church as only a building and a place, we will miss the true joy and peace that God wants all of us to have. If we look at church as a just a building or place, we can find many excuses to be elsewhere. But when we look at church as a place where we get to personally see God's love for us because of the relationship that God has with us through faith, then we see church as something great and wonderful. We see God promises to bring us true peace and joy as we come to the house of the Lord. That is why we go to Church!
- Pastor Gartner
Bible Study Opportunities:
We will be on a break for the summer. However, this doesn't mean that our time in God's Word should slow-down or cease completely. We strongly encourage you to dive deeper into God's Word yourselves this summer, whether that is reading your Bible, a devotional book, or some other doctrinally sound book on God's Word. Feel free to ask Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner for any tips or suggestions.
We are currently in our Summer Schedule: Sunday worship at 8:00am and 10:00am. Monday worship at 6:30pm
Wartburg Project Update:
The Wartburg Project is a group of WELS and ELS pastors and professors who have been working on the Evangelical Heritage Version, the translation of the Bible we are currently examining during our worship services. Click on the following link to see their June update.