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From the Pastor: September 2021

by Rev. Don Fraker on September 01, 2021

“Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  And we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 

John 3:68-69 – ESV

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                Greetings to you in the name of Christ!  We heard these verses as part of our Gospel Reading on Sunday, August 15.  Whenever I hear or read them, they always give me pause, and for a couple reasons.  First—we sing the first two lines regularly on Sunday mornings when we use Divine Services One and Two.  Right before hearing the Gospel Reading we stand and sing, “Alleluia, Lord to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Alleluia, alleluia.”  Did you know we were quoting Peter?  What a great moment as we prepare to hear Gospel words from and about Jesus.  The second reason is the next line:  “…we have believed, and have come to know…” (emphasis mine).  I do not know exactly what Peter meant or how he would describe the nuances between the two.  I look forward to talking to him about it someday.

 

                For our devotional purposes here, however, here’s what I’m thinking:  It’s important to believe something in our hearts and minds.  To hold it firm and strong and let nothing prevail over or obscure it—and to confess it to the world as our bold witness that points others to Christ.  In addition, it’s important to know that something—walked out in daily life.  To actually put the words of Jesus into action in the way we treat each other, talk to each other, and love and forgive the way we are loved and forgiven by the Lord.  Or, in words from St. Paul heard in Ephesians, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1).  And for the same reason:  to point others to Christ.

 

                Where/when do we get the strength to do that?  In our Sanctuary, on Sunday mornings.  Yes…Sunday mornings!  The Main Event in the life of this ministry.  The public place where God meets us to give His gifts of love and grace to His people through His Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.

 

                I recall a Portals of Prayer devotion from a couple years ago.  It was an encouragement to be in God’s house for Worship on the Lord’s Day.  It was centered on Luke 10:38-42.  Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, choosing “the good portion”.  In it, the author of the devotion reminded us of something we all know, all experience:  Like Martha, we have lots to do!  Good things to do.  Important things to do.  Sometimes relaxing, recharging, refreshing things to do…so that we can face a new week.

 

                All the more reason, then, to spend Sunday morning at the feet of Jesus.  There is simply—yet profoundly—nothing more important to do than that.  Everything else takes a back seat; everything else can wait.  For followers of Jesus, that is our confession, our commitment, and the rhythm of our weeks and our lives.  We believe it and have come to know it.

                That’s why I love to say:  See you in church!

 

                In the name Christ, in Whom we are one,

                Pastor Don Fraker – Colossians 3:15

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