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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

January 2016

You may recall just before Advent and Christmas we did a sermon series introducing a new emphasis here at Faith on discipleship. We said that disciples at Faith are people who are saved by God's grace and shaped by God's Word. God's Word shapes us when we hear the Word, meditate on the Word, talk about the Word, and act on the Word. The primary place where this shaping happens is in our Sunday morning worship services. There, in what we call the "Divine Service," God works on us with His Word. His Word draws us to repent, absolves us, teaches us, puts confession and prayer in our mouths, delivers the sacrament, and sends us forth with a blessing. His Word is living and active every time we gather for this Divine Service.

But, very often, this service can begin to feel a bit rote. Sometimes the routine can bore us. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. But, I wonder if part of this boredom comes from the fact that we simply don't fully grasp what is taking place on Sunday morning. See, when we come to church on Sundays, we are not simply going through the motions to make sure God is impressed by what we do. Rather, we are caught up in a drama! That's right, when you come to church, you are actually participating in the saving work of God. Better said, God is acting on you as you receive the gifts and guidance He has to give. But, this is no mere play-acting, you and I actually interact with God as He is present in His Word and sacraments! Though He is hidden in the words spoken and bread and wine distributed, God is actually there, at work, for you!

It is crucial for us to recognize that when we go to church, what we do is not primary, but that God is the main actor. This is why our services are saturated with scripture, because that is where God speaks. The liturgy is not some random format we put together to make church easier to swallow. Rather, it is the arena where God works upon us, His baptized saints. It is His service to us before it is anything we do for Him.

To gain a greater understanding of what is happening in worship, this January and February, our Epiphany sermon series will be based on what is happening in each of the different parts of the liturgy. We are going to focus on what we are actually "hearing" throughout the service on Sunday so that we have a greater understanding of what is happening to us in worship. I hope you make it a point to join us for our Epiphany series entitled: "Message Received."

One other note: as we head into 2016, I just want to thank all of you for the gifts, love, prayers, and support you so graciously give to my family and me. We thank God constantly for you in our prayers and are excited to see what our Lord Jesus has in store for our blessed congregation in the next year. Thank you for loving us and for serving with us. It is a true blessing to serve as your pastor. Happy New Year!
Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email