Setting priorities this fall

Return O My Soul to your restI would like to think that the summer has renewed us, but it’s probably been more of a change than a rest for many. We are a “go, go people” and the coming of Fall just means more of that “go, go” for most of us.

Now there’s nothing wrong with staying active. In fact, moving off that couch helps us stay healthy. But the problem is that for some, especially for many young families, activity has almost become an obsession and an oppression.

As parents we had our four children in music lessons, sports, school and of course, church. Two parents going four directions is not fun – it’s insane!

Another problem is that for many people the church represents just one more thing to do on a list that is already too long. This often means the church is relegated to that part of the list which is underlined by the word “Sometime.” People tend to do that because they feel they can disconnect God from the church. “God is everywhere and the church, well it’s just another nice activity – not necessary.”

If the church is merely another human institution or activity then it would make complete sense to put it where you want it. But is that what God’s Word in the Bible says about the church?

One hundred and thirteen times that word “church” is used in the New Testament. Jesus said, And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…(Matthew 16:18). Does this not suggest that the church is of Christ’s own making and of great importance?

St. Paul writes, For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior (Ephesians 5:23). I know many people don’t like that first part, but it’s the second part that should not be lost here. The church is Christ’s own body. If Christ is of ultimate importance, is not the church, His body, also of great importance?

But perhaps you think this is merely my interpretation? I would invite you to talk with any Christian pastor or go to any Christian book on this topic and find one that does not hold up the church as vitally important to Christ and His mission in the world.

I know that some people would like to spiritualize the church and separate it from its fleshly organization. Some people tried to do that very thing to Christ in the early days of the church, suggesting that He was not truly human. This was eventually declared a heresy – a view out of line with God’s Word.

The church is of God’s making. Through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit we are called and gathered together in the waters of baptism to become the Church, the body of Christ.

The church does many things (teaching, serving…), but at the heart of the church is worship. It is here that God’s people gather to find rest and peace in the midst of a “go, go world.” It is in worship that God comes to speak to us through Word and Sacrament that message of forgiveness, life and salvation in Christ alone.

We need the church because its the boat that God has built to rescue all His people.

So as you prepare for this fall, making your list and checking it twice, may God’s Word and the Holy Spirit speak into your life and lead you to priorities centered on God’s Word and His instruction there.

– Pastor Tim

Also check out the calendar below….Sunday school starts this week, as do many other opportunities.