Today's message "Why Church?" is from Pastor Rob Norris-Weber.
What difference does church make in the world? Is church worth the effort, time, and money? This is the question being asked in the world today. As a society that has become more individualistic and idolizes self-sufficiency and independence, do we even need anyone, let alone the church?
I believe we do.
As I read the Bible, I hear from the beginning that God, the creator of heaven and earth and all that is in it, has one true desire and that is relationship. Humans are made in the image of God, which means we too need relationship. Honestly, has anyone been born outside of relationship – even if it was simply physical? We need one another. And what is one of the most heinous tortures? – solitary confinement. It has devastating results as we are starved of connection and intimacy.
That is why God sent Jesus, to bring us into relationship with everyone for all time…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” – John 3:16
This is one of the most popular verses in the Bible. Jesus came into the world as a child, placed into a family, held in human hands as an infant. God experienced human relationship.
In our message series from the start of the New Year through Transfiguration we will answer the question “Why Church?”
On Baptism of our Lord Sunday, our first week, the answer to “Why Church?” was rebirth. Jesus began his ministry through baptism, laying himself into the hands of a human as he went into the water. Coming up out of the water a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus experienced rebirth. In our baptisms we are welcomed into relationship as brothers and sister of Jesus.
Jesus is then cast out into the wilderness, tempted by Satan, but the angels waited on him. Again Jesus experiences relationship – bad and good.
Our second week, it is no surprise that the first thing Jesus does is invite others to join him, calling his disciples into relationship, with the charge to invite others into relationship with Jesus.
In our third week the answer was reconnection. Jesus meets a man possessed, alone in a graveyard, alienated from society. The exorcism frees the man who is now able to return home to his family and friends, back into relationship.
In the weeks ahead we will hear more answers to “Why Church?” including resurrection, reorientation, redemption, and revelation.
For Jesus so loved the world that he invited all to be the Church, living in relationship with God, one another, and all creation. At the end of this message series we, St. Luke’s, will have been answering this question 97 years. May we continue to do so until Jesus comes again. Amen.
Rob Norris-Weber, Pastor