Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bethany Bullet - October 18, 2011

Bethany Lutheran Church
ONE Service Sunday
Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bethany’s Senior Choir

The Children’s Message

This is where corporate worship began, not this location but this fabrication!Corporate worship was first conducted under a tent. Prior to the tent, what Scripture calls the tabernacle, worship was an individual activity that took place spontaneously and it was not held with regularly scheduled frequency.

· Adam & Eve and the provision of God somewhere on ground that needed to be worked…

· Noah and his family, off the ark having released the creatures after being held together by God…

· Abraham & the King of Salem, there was an offering plate and a personal encounter…

· Jacob, a vision and a stone aside from angels he was alone...

· Moses, a burning bush and bare feet (just one pair that were bare)

Each of these stories recorded in Scripture is about personal and individual worship. Yet, more importantly each story is ultimately about the ONE being worshipped! The ONE true God who acts first and in grace…

V Who delivers and protects

V Who gives but gladly receives

V Who descends to be with us and deigns to speak to us!

Such time of spontaneous individual communication with the Lord is aprivilege and blessing (to be sure), but there is something special and significant about that which is done corporately.

For Instance…

When a community celebrates collectively and a boulevard becomes a party zone; what was accomplished by a few players on a field or court is equally claimed and enjoyed by fans that did no more than support. If Mike Napoli were with the Halos that experience could be in Anaheim rather than in Arlington with the Texas Rangers.


When proximity partners us in pain; that has been our experience this last week has it not? So many of us knew someone or at least knew someone who knew someone that lost their life in Seal Beach last week. You just don’t expect that a place where people go to look their best could become a place where they close their eyes last. And so a salon is a shrine and a place where people partnered in pain can gather.

There is a power in oneness; from the little smile and nod that is shared between a pair of strangers both wearing the same teams championship jersey, to the look that reflects a deep pain shared between neighbors living through the same horror. There is power in oneness; be it in corporate jubilation, corporate tribulation, or like here and now corporate confirmation.

And in such oneness to see another – the ONE, as the center of it all!

By nature we are prone to view ourselves not as the audience but in the lead role. From suffering to success, to determine it’s all about us.

Take the scene along the river Jordan’s banks. The Baptist’s fame was spreading fast. People from all over were coming to see him. He was center stage, so much so that his menu and tailor were becoming lore among the folk (i.e. what he ate and what he wore). “He dines on locust and dons camel’s hair.” But the Baptist refused to be THE STORY! (Click here John 3:22-30)

Jesus Christ was gaining renown. People were talking about and going to John less and less. John the Baptist and his followers were quickly becoming OLD NEWS. Self-promotion and self-preservation were the aim of John’s disciples. It was natural. They focused on themselves and thus on him as ‘the story’, the center of it all. “John, that guy is getting all your clients and your publicity.”This was the Baptist’s chance. He could join the chorus, cry and lament his loss, but he refused. “Through even this, this loss, this heartache, this monumental change of all I have known… I can only say, ‘It’s not about me, but HIM.’ I must decrease, He must increase.”

Here is what we Lutherans can learn from John the Baptist. While we are among the cast of characters in this story, ours are bit parts and supporting roles. We are simply people who move the plot along. Are we central, essential, and/or pivotal? NO! Contrary to the bumper stick that started us a few weeks ago, neither the world, nor the heavens revolve around us! And neither our sorrows nor success (be they private or corporate) are really about us, for its all about Him. And that is why God gathers us together as one – whether worshipping simultaneously or staggered on a Sunday – because something profound happens when that which is intimately personal, faith and love in Jesus is shared and experienced in that which is structurally communal. As one, we come to affirm that which John the Baptist knew – we ain’t here so God can tell our story, we are here (on this field, under this tent, on this campus, in this community, and on this planet) to tell His story.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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