A Book in the Church
For several months, I have been writing about books that are available in our church. This month, I want to tell you about another book that can be found in our church sanctuary. Every Sunday, we reach down, pick up this book and open it during the worship service. It has a maroon cover; and, most people call it “the hymnal.” Actually, the title, “hymnal”, only refers to a part of the book because the official title is Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW). It is a wonder-filled book full of all sorts of helps for Christians both in the church and in daily life. Discover the contents (not during the sermon when you should be listening) at a time when you can read the book’s introduction. It sets the scene and helps introduce the reader to everything that is a part of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
Here are some of the book’s contents: ten forms of corporate Sunday worship services on a mix-or-match base; special services such as morning and evening services, baptism, wedding, funeral and Holy Day services; individual aids such as confession and healing; suggested daily scripture readings; a collection of prayers for a variety of conditions in society and personal life; the Lutheran Catechism; a listing of special meanings for certain days in the year; and, of course, a collection of hymns (old and contemporary) grouped according to different themes.
As marvelous and rich in resources as the ELW is, it is only a tool to help the congregation and individuals in their walk in the Christian life. It is NOT THE HOLY BIBLE. The Bible is the book that contains the PROMISE OF GOD THAT ALL WHO HAVE FAITH SHALL BE SAVED. It is in the Bible that we read these words. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” “Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.” These are some of the promises God makes to us through the scriptures.
We use the word, belief, as interchangeable with the word, faith. Both are not just words of assent, but are words of action. People act upon and live what they believe. Another word that is used for belief or faith is the word, trust. Trust is also an action word. These words mean more than simply nodding one’s head and saying, “Yep, that’s what I think.” These words mean: “This is what motivates me, makes me act, and influences how I live.” Remember God’s promise.
And now, one final thought from the last book of the Bible, Revelation 3:5. “All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and all his angels that they are mine.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ. Claim that promise. Peace and blessing.