Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Help

None of this is at all to denigrate or to diminish the blessed work and good ministry of our pastors, playlists, and programs. Not at all. It's about keeping the main thing the main thing; that is, it's about maintaining God as the rhyme and the reason for all that we do. And anyone who maintains God's perspective on his or her ministry should agree.

That said, our pastors, playlists, and programs are necessary elements of the Church of the Fallen World, for these are the things through which we come to know and to worship God when our flesh might be tempted to wander. As such, they are due our respect and our honor. 

Paul makes clear the need for good pastors in the church. He says rather clearly, how will anyone ever know the good news if no one tells them? How will they know the story of God if no one teaches them? And this is true. We need our pastors to teach us the ways and the works and the wonders of God. More importantly, we need our pastors to teach us to see these things ourselves.

We live in a world of competing narratives. Without our pastors to stand up and share the story of God, that's one narrative we might never fully grasp nor understand nor adopt for ourselves. 

Neither are our playlists frivolous to our sacred experience. The Scriptures make very clear that worship is an essential part of what we do as God's people. From Genesis to Revelation, the people and the angels and even creation itself are lifting their voices to the Lord. We need our playlists to teach us to sing His songs, to teach us the songs of our heart to which we almost know the words, but only in grunts and in groans. 

We live in a world of trouble and strife. Without our playlists to teach us to lift our voices, we might spend all our years with lowered heads. 

Nor are our programs bad. In fact, they, too, are necessary to the life of the Church of the Fallen World. It's often our programs that bring us in. It's our programs that help us to make connections to one another in our folds. It's our programs that remind us who we are, who our community is, and what we're doing here together. Most of the persons who come into the church come in through a program that somehow meets one of their needs (note: that need is almost never "I needed someone to knock on my door and tell me about Heaven and Hell). 

We live in a world of self-preservation and self-service, told that we must meet our own needs. Without our programs, we might never know that there is a God and a community to help us do that. 

Our churches, through our pastors, playlists, and programs, teach us that there is a God, there is more to this life, and we are not alone. These things are absolutely essential to our developing a full theology, an abundant life, and an eternal perspective. 

So long as we keep them in their place and recognize that they neither define us nor defend us. We are, first and foremost, forever and for always God's people and the Lord, the Lord alone, is our Shepherd. 

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