Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't Turn the Church into Mammom

I saw that Peter Sellers would have turned 85 yesterday. Now, I will admit, I love the move Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). Fantastic film. And the drama, the action is set off by the crazy actions of an army officer who is determined to protect our "Purity of Essence" - who is convinced that we are being poisoned as part of a vile Communist plot, and so he starts World War III. His fears, his anxieties overwhelm him, and chaos ensues. His zeal goes awry, becomes fear of corruption, and brings ruin.

So, consider your own zeal for your Church - whether it be the local congregation, the Synod, Lutheranism throughout the world. You should love it, you should rejoice in it, you should defend and support it -- but you should never be anxious about it. Why?

Because that turns the "Church" into Mammon. Instead of being focused upon Christ and His Righteousness, you become worried about stuff. The local congregation - instead of rejoicing that it is the place where Christ declares His righteousness to you, you can be worried about its growth, it's prestige, it's survival. Yet, is Christ ever join to stop bringing His righteousness to you? Do not worry and turn the Church into Mammon.

Or what of your zeal for Synod? Do you worry about it's direction, it's reputation? Are you terrified that's it's "purity of essence" might be shattered? Then you have turned the Synod into Mammon. If the Synod falls. . . yes, it's sad, but that just means you organize with faithful Lutherans somewhere else. . . sometimes you leave Germany and head to the new world. Christ still rules His kingdom and gives you His righteousness. Do not worry and turn the Synod into Mammon.

Or what of your zeal for Lutheranism? Do you worry about how impure we are - that there are pietists in our midst, that some people think that "those" Lutherans are what Lutherans are? Does the worry that our name and identity is being sullied worry you. . . and oh so piously, for if our name is sullied how will people come to Church? Which of you by worrying can add one more person to the elect? So do not worry - Your Heavenly Father knows all these things, and the Church throughout the world is His.

The Church is not our possession to fret and worry about. We dwell in God's Church and live there - and we may live without fear for our King, Christ Jesus reigns. He protects all things for us - we don't have to be filled with anxiety and do anything foolish and out of fear either for our congregation, our synod, or even the name "Lutheran".

And He shall reign forever and ever! Amen.

1 comment:

Brian Yamabe said...

Pastor Brown,
Thanks for this. I'm an officer in my congregation and I'll just say I needed this.
---Brian Yamabe