The Touch of a Withered Hand
A pastor was taking a Boy Scout Troup on a tour of the church. He explained the meaning of the stained glass windows and some of the symbols on them. One boy asked about a plaque that listed a long list of names. He was told they were members of the church who died in service. The boy asked the next logical question, "Which one, 8:30 or 11?"
We may laugh at that, but for a small boy and many adults as well, the services, though not exactly fatal, can seem pretty deadly. Preachers speak in funeral tones, and it seems that only the corpse is missing. A survey was released that showed the religious unaffiliated as finding church services boring and irrelevant.
I want us to use our time and imagination this morning to open the doors of the Synagogue, look in, and see what we find. Our Lord can illuminate the whole subject of worship for us from this text.
We come to church for one of three reasons. The first one is we come out of a sense of duty. We love God and we owe Him something. We come out of a sense of obligation. Secondly, worship is a diversion for us. It is a harmless way to spend a Sunday morning. The choir is not bad and the sermon is better than a bad T. V. program. Thirdly, we come because we need dynamic in our lives. One preacher was going on a sabbatical. He surveyed his congregation to find out their greatest need in their Christian life. The survey revealed that most parishioners revealed that they need power to live the Christian life. The pastor worked on sermons during his time off to address those needs.
The early Anglicans courted death to worship. The Pilgrims left their comfortable homeland and came to this uncivilized land to worship. They must have found something that a lot of us have not found.
Why was the Sabbath founded? It was a day of human renewal. It was a time for rest and relaxation ...
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