Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sermon: Easter 5 - Year B

“I don’t need to go to church,” I was told. “I just worship God in my own way.” Another way I hear this is “I don’t believe in organized religion.”

To that I always want to reply, “Organized religion? Have you SEEN my desk lately? There’s nothing ‘organized’ about it!”

You’ve probably heard that sort of thing before. I hear it all the time. And it used to irk me when I heard it. It doesn't anymore.

I had all sorts of ready-made answers for folks who would say that sort of thing. Good biblical and theological answers as to why you need to go to church to worship God and not just do your own thing.

I would point to the book of Acts where the Holy Spirit gathered all sorts of people together in an intimate community, and say “There! There’s where it says that you need to go to church.”

I would suggest that the early churches assembled in each other’s houses because that’s the way God wanted them to worship. If God didn’t want people to be in church then why does the New Testament spend so much time in helping churches get along with each other?

I would tell them that people need each other in order to grow, that left on our own we’d simply repeat the same old patterns of thought and wouldn’t be challenged in any way. Learning and growth happen best when in conversation with other people.

Then I’d get all theological and say that our God is a church - the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, communing with each other in an intimacy so deep that we confess them to be One God. Three persons, co-equal, co-eternal, circle dancing through the cosmos, calling all who are baptized in that name to join in their everlasting ballet.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? At least I think it does. But my arguments always met glazed eyes because I think...(whole sermon here)

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