Caring for a newborn is not usually complicated; it’s just constant. There are only a handful of possible problems when Abel fusses. Once we’ve exhausted the list of possible solutions, one last trick often works for him: lay him down and leave him alone, preferably in his swing. More than I remember with his older brothers, Abel tends to reach a point where he just wants to chill out, without yet another friendly brother in his face or a parent pushing bottles or burps. Sometimes he starts smiling the moment he is placed in the swing. Good for him. Abel intuits that rest is as essential as feeding and cleaning.
As we continue to welcome more members back to worshipping in person, this seems a good time for reflection about why we “go to church.” A clue can be found in the traditional name for Lutheran worship: “Divine Service.” Sunday is not for our good works, but God’s. We “go to church” not primarily to give our praise, prayers, tithes, and service. We are “gathered to church” by the Holy Spirit so that the Divine may service His people. Sundays offer Sabbath rest that we might “gladly hear and receive God’s Word” (Luther’s Small Catechism). We come to together to worship because God considers it essential to “get the family together and have a meal.” Christ Jesus can’t wait another week to wrap a towel around his waist, stoop down and wash our feet with his Word, all in the presence of our fellow disciples.
Our heavenly Father serves us as His baptized and beloved children. God feeds, cleans, clothes, speaks, comforts and corrects. We can rest in these essential services. God is faithful and kind. Lord knows there are many services God will call us to perform for the sake of the Gospel. Sometimes going to church might feel like overly-friendly brothers in our face or pastors pushing bottles or burps (so to speak!) But before and beyond the good works God equips us to do is the essential rest we have in Christ. Together we are swinging in our sweet savior’s embrace.
Shalom, Pr. Tom
We “go to church” not primarily to give our praise, prayers, tithes, and
service. We are “gathered to church” by the Holy Spirit so that the Divine
may service His people.