I grew up going to church with my parents in the Lutheran church. I went to church six days a week, five days for school where I had religion classes, and Sunday for service. I would not trade the experience for anything, I loved the small classes and the teachers were all phenomenal. However, they did not “win me over”. What I mean by this is I don’t think I was a Christian when I left for school at Cal Poly Pomona, in fact, didn’t really want anything to do with religion. Eventually I found a group giving away free hamburgers, and was sold! I gotta get with this group! Well, it turned out they were a Christian group, next thing you know all I am doing is hanging out with them. I eventually hear the Gospel in a way I never heard before and began my walk with Jesus October 20, 2007 at Fall Retreat my freshman year.
Obviously, this has been a huge impact on my life! However, after six years of going to non-denominational church I started to go “all bad” on the traditional style of service. “Why are they so rigid in their beliefs” “The church is dead” “Why can’t they be open-minded and try new things?” These were all thoughts that were in the back of my head as I thought about my old church.
However, living in Sacramento and going to my old church for the past five months, I will admit I could not have been further from a correct view of the church. In fact, I know see the traditions of the Lutheran church instill a reverence for the Lord that non-denoms have replaced with Jesus being our bestie! I have really been drawn to this reverence the past couple months.
Church Calendar. Currently we are in the middle of Advent, the first season of the church calendar. I used to think it was pretty lame that we pretend we are waiting for the birth of Jesus who came over 2,000 years ago, but attending the Lutheran church again and mid-week services as well I have realized there is a parallel to the waiting for Christ birth in the New Testament and for us awaiting Jesus coming “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:2. Just as the Jews of the Old Testament had no idea when Jesus was coming, so we must always be ready for Christ’s second coming. All the seasons point us back to the Gospel and checks our hearts every year to make sure we are believing the Gospel truth.
Scripture Reading. “My pastor reads the Bible when he preaches in his sermon, why have ‘Scripture Readings’ and stand up and sit down all the time?” As I meet with pastors throughout the various Lutheran churches, I realized all the churches have the Scripture readings every week. Isn’t that so neat? All the churches in the area (even throughout the country) are on the same Scripture cycle, and therefore in unity with one another! Also, the fact that we stand for the Gospel readings instills that reverence for the Word and treating it as a book that is to be honored.
There are many other aspects of the traditional style of worship that I didn’t get as a young lad, but I like to keep my posts short. But all I know is that when I was younger I did not grasp the necessity of the very structured style of worship, and was drawn towards the “free-ness” of the contemporary style. I have had conversations with many many people of various churches and I know people in the traditional services have a personal relationship with Jesus and people in non-denoms have a reverence for the Lord, but speaking from both side of the coin, there is not always the fruit from both sides in our life.
I have really been challenged to live with more reverence for the Lord and treat Him as God the Father, the Almighty Creator and Savior of the universe, as well as living in His grade that allows me to walk right beside Jesus being lead by the Holy Spirit.
And to go back to why I went “all bad” on the church was all for selfish reasons. They are not “rigid” in their beliefs, they stick to what they know to be true, and follow what was inspired by God and written over 2,000 years ago and do not let the whims of society change their beliefs “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” Ephesians 4:14. I can tell you that the people at my parents church worshiping and singing hymns to the organ experience the God as much as people raising their hands in the rocking worship at my church in SoCal, and that was an incredible realization when I finally believed that and understood it to be true.
How do you balance the two sides? Reverence and Best Friend?
Did you grow up in a traditional style church? Contemporary? What has been your experience on the other side?
What is something you don’t understand about the other style of worship?
How can you have more reverence for the Lord? or How can you better treat Him as in a personal relationship?
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