BY REV. MARTIN LUCIN - SPRIIT LAKE GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
We are a part of an individualistic culture. A Lone Ranger culture. And this extends to our religion.
Many people confuse touching God with a pleasant, wistful feeling. And so we say things like this: "I can experience God on the golf course or at the beach just as I can in church."
But I have to warn you, the two are not synonymous! A warm, fuzzy feeling is not the same as being in the presence of Holiness.
Jesus promised that where one person is on a golf course somewhere alone that "I will be there also." No, he said, "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am also."
I remember reading an interesting article in Time magazine awhile back about Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is one of America’s biggest retailers, and its aim eventually is to conquer the world market. But Wal-Mart's leaders have found that the "Wal-Mart culture" does not translate well in every country.
For instance, in Germany, cheerful store greeters and helpful clerks – a staple of the Wal-Mart culture – were considered rude and pushy because the Germans like to be left alone while they shop. But in China, the Wal-Mart culture has thrived. In fact, Wal-Mart employees in one store in China start each day with a rousing song that can be translated: "My heart is filled with pride … I long to tell you how deep my love for Wal-Mart is."
Can you imagine that? I wonder what it would be like if Christ-followers came together on a regular basis to sing, "I come to tell you how deep my love for Jesus is." I seriously doubt if anyone will be worshipping for the first time in heaven!
So, where do we touch God? We touch God in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. We touch God when we are going through a great ordeal and have nowhere else to turn.
We touch God in worship where, with other believers, we lift our hymns and prayers of praise! And so we affirm our connection to all those who this day "rest from their labor" and worship in praise before the throne of God.
That’s right, grace: It's for me, it's for you, it's for everyone!