Say What?

Our annual Pastor’s conference kicked off this morning.  It’s good to see guys (and gals) from all over the southwestern US gathered together to learn and share and catch up with one another, even though I don’t know 99.99% of them.  There’s a comfort to be had that some of these people have served together in our District for decades.  Perhaps one day, I’ll know more than .01% of them, if I serve around here long enough.

As with anything that Lutherans do, we have to begin with at least one worship opportunity, and generally several.  This morning there was a short service & devotional before the speakers began.  
What struck me all of a sudden was how much time we spend talking about the people out there.  Almost the entire time was spent talking about the dire condition of the world out there.  The evils and difficulties of homosexuality and promiscuity and confused sexual and gender roles.  There’s certainly no shortage of bad news to make Christians moan and groan and lament.
Yet, isn’t this always the case?  I mean, sure, Western culture has been dominated by Christianity for about a thousand years, but hasn’t there always been a larger world out there?  Aren’t there always people that don’t do the right things, that are blinded by any number of things?  Aren’t there always restless natives somewhere, offering up missionary heads on poles?  Isn’t this the culture that the Church was born into, two thousand years ago?  
How should the Church respond to this?  
There’s only one way the Church can respond.  With the Gospel.  With the Good News.  And what struck me this morning is that we mouth the words about having once been lost and blind, and how now through Christ we are found and can see, but how many of us can articulate that in personal terms?  How were we lost?  In what ways were we blind?  How does the life and light of Christ change the way we live our lives or view the world around us?  How would we describe the joy of Christ we profess to have in our hearts?  How would anybody else know about that joy?  
Shouldn’t that joy be what we talk about?  Instead of focusing on doom and gloom?  Isn’t this what we’ve been called to do from the beginning – share the joy, tell about what Jesus has done for us, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest?  
Shouldn’t we especially do this in worship?!
I think I’m just as guilty of this, unfortunately.  I think I want to commit myself to not talking about how bad it is out there any more, and instead fostering an environment where people focus on the joy they have in Christ and how they might communicate that to others.  Lord knows the world could use a bit more good news instead of just negative polemics.  And since we have that Good News, imagine what might happen if we started and finished with that, instead of doom and gloom?

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