As the wife of a Baptist pastor, I spend most of my Sunday mornings in one of the first three pews of Faith Baptist Church in North Minneapolis where I listen to the huz share from the Word. This is a blessing and a curse. I am blessed to know that he is an awesome pastor…and that is a statement I make objectively as one who has listened to many sermons. It is a curse because I know a lot about sermons and theology – it sort of overflows into my life as his wife – and this makes me a sermon critic. I have very little patience for a bad sermon.
Yesterday morning, I was blessed to hear a sermon by Pastor Rick Nelson at the Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis because relatives were in town accompanying the Grand Cities Choir – a group of 7th-9th grade students who performed three songs as part of the service yesterday morning. They were a seamless, but fabulous, addition to the very traditional, liturgical Lutheran service. As a former Presbyterian turned Baptist with Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran relatives, I speak almost any church language and am pretty well-versed in most liturgies.
Yesterday was not about liturgies but about a word spoken into my life.
Who is Jesus and what does that mean for us? Pastor Rick talked about meeting someone for coffee and discussing all of the possibilities of who Jesus was, who other religions say He was, and then who He ultimately is and was and what that means for us. Pastor Rick stated that almost everyone – even atheists – admire Jesus for some reason. He could be a moral example to many. He could be seen as a liberator for others. Pastor Rick shared that he himself grew up with an image of Jesus as friend (he even sang a line from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”).
He then stated that all of that is true and that it leads us all – whether a believer or not – to admire Jesus. The difference is that Jesus was not just a man; He was God Himself in the flesh who came to earth to take on all that we as humans are and will be in our sin. And this does not lead to admiration – this leads to worship. We do not worship Jesus because He was a great moral example or a liberator. We worship Him because He is God.
Jesus is God, so we worship Him.
And that – as the pastor huz has often says – preaches.