Lutheran worship is primarily the proclamation of the gospel in Word and sacrament. As we gather together for worship, God speaks to us in his Word. Through the preaching of his law he crushes us with the stark and painful reminder of our own sin and unworthiness; he causes us to tremble at his holiness and justice; he speaks to us his urgent call to repentance. But in that same time of worship, a gracious God speaks to us words of full and free forgiveness. He points us to Christ and to the cross where his sacrifice paid the price of our sin, removed our guilt, and opened the door to heaven itself. In that same time of worship, we poor miserable sinners kneel side by side and receive the same body and blood that were given and shed for us. We commune with our God and with each other. In that same setting of worship, we witness how the power of the Holy Spirit, working through nothing other than his Word and simple water, creates new life and faith in the hearts of children and adults as they are baptized. And even when we join our voices to praise God in our words and songs, that praise is always focused on what God has done for us in Christ, adding our voices of gospel proclamation to the voice of the shepherd God has called to serve us.
If that is what happens in Lutheran worship, if the proclamation of the gospel and the preaching of Christ crucified is the center of what happens in our churches, then our worship services are not only times when God is nourishing the faith of believers; worship services also become a time and place where true evangelism and outreach take place. It is in that kind of Christ-centered and cross-focused worship setting that people hear not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. It is then that people receive something effective and lasting—not the passing emotional high that soon fades outside the church doors, not the hollow recipes for happiness, worldly success, or outwardly godly living.
My absence around here has been extended, and I’m not apologizing because I’ve started working on something that really excites me–a new website/blog titled, simply, Christian. Here’s what it’s all about:
simply, Christian is about choosing to live simply in midst of busyness in order to free our time, resources, and desires that we might focus on what is truly important and simply live.
It is about taking seriously Jesus’ world-changing, life-redeeming good news to address not only people’s spiritual condition but also their physical condition. It is about daring ourselves to address the most pressing calamities that face humanity today in order to bring real, lasting transformation to others’ lives. It is about making small changes in our daily activities that we might bring large changes to others, especially those…
- who are orphans
- who are affected by disease, especially HIV/AIDS and malaria
- who lack clean water
- who have not been shown mercy
It is about challenging one another to live simply, Christian.
My name is T.C. Judd, and these are my thoughts. Of late, my life has been dramatically impacted in two completely different ways by two completely different writers. With respect to simplicity, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits (and more recently, Everett Bogue of Far Beyond the Stars) has helped me to see the clutter and chaos that fills much of life and has challenged me to simplify. With respect to living the whole of the Christian life, Richard Stearns, in The Hole in Our Gospel, brought to my attention the immensity of the social crises facing our world today and challenged me to make a difference. Over time, I realized that the two blended well together–truly living a simple life (not a minimalist one, in my case) as a vehicle for truly living a Christian life.
So that, in a nutshell, is what it is to live simply, Christian.
I’d appreciate if you’d head over to simply, Christian and check things out over there. I’ll still be blogging here, though I expect the pace to remain slow for a while until I’ve gathered some momentum.