Thursday, June 19, 2014
Casting Your Vote. . .
Inevitably someone will ask "what did I miss?" I have already addressed the answer to this in another blog post. This time another focus is worthy of our attention. It sounds law oriented (well, because it is, in part) but it was put to me this way, "every Christian votes every Sunday; everyone who decides to stay home casts a ballot against the witness and life of the Church; everyone who attends casts a vote for the witness and life of the Church." There is a great deal of truth in this.
We have been taught to attend for ourselves, for our own needs, or because of our likes (preferences). Such folly! Even if we as Christians felt no need to hear the Word of the Lord or to be fed at His Table (as if this was conceivable), we have a duty and responsibility to attend for the sake of others within the Body of Christ and for the sake of the witness our attendance makes to the world.
When we stay home for anything but the greatest necessity, we are effectively telling our brothers and sisters in Christ that they are less important to us than we are and we are telling the world not to pay much attention to Christianity because it is not of great consequence. That is the hard but honest truth. Our willingness to let anything and everything come first on Sunday morning means we are casting a vote to close the Church and against any witness the assembly of God's people makes in the world.
On the other hand, our attendance is at least as much for the sake of others as it is for ourselves. We live in a covenant of love with those who share with us the baptismal life God has given us. If not for ourselves, we come for them, for those with whom we share the baptismal new life and vocation as the people of God. And if not for them, then for the sake of those who have not yet heard or paid much attention to the faith. We make our way to the Lord's House on the Lord's Day and the world sees and hears in this a witness to the Word of the Lord and a testament to the blessings of our life together fed and nourished upon the flesh and blood our Lord graciously gives to us in the Eucharist.
Everything else proceeds from this. Without this, Christianity degenerates into an individualized, self-centered and self-defined faith. As Lutherans we should hear the echo of Luther's Small Catechism in our ears when we choose to stay home for anything but the most urgent necessity. For around the Word and Table of the Lord God is at work calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying His Church. How can this be anything but the highest priority in the life of the Christian?
We are well into the vacation season. Some will go away and others will have a "staycation" at home. There is no rest apart from the Word and Sacraments, no peace apart from the peace Christ gives, and no benefit to time off unless it begin with the rest for the souls and peace that passes understanding of all the Lord's people gathered around the Lord's Word and Table on the Lord's Day.
So.... how will YOU be voting this Sunday?!?!?