Across the Pastor’s Desk: Forgo the extravagant rituals

Published 8:00 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

Here was a time when marketers were doing everything that they could to gain access to peoples’ discretionary income, that money not needed for necessities like food, shelter clothing or transportation. This was money that was available for entertainment of whatever sort people desired.

Don Rose

Today marketers are seeking ways to tap something even more challenging than discretionary money and that is peoples’ discretionary time. The days of relaxing Sundays and plenty of free time and even more so relaxing summers are long gone. Families and individuals find themselves with calendars filled to overflowing with little or no discretionary time and what time they might have is in high demand.

Email newsletter signup

Churches — willingly or not — find themselves in the midst of the scramble to lay claim to at least some of peoples’ available time, and the scramble is becoming more and more challenging. What does the future hold, and what will churches need to consider and offer that is appealing to a continually overwhelmed populace?

The quest will for many become even more challenging as it is said that the State High School League is considering Wednesday night competitions and Sunday tournaments as s solution to the lack of persons to officiate such events.

Will churches take on the styles and values of the culture in an effort to reach people in some way? Or will the churches seek to reclaim their unique message for a society in great need and make their focus that word of forgiveness, welcome and acceptance that is the unique message of the gospel. Will members of churches actually live out the message of their faith in daily life and interaction with others rather than simply saying the appropriate words and going through the right motions? The answers to these questions may in fact determine the future of many churches today.

In his time the prophet Micah told the people of God to forgo extravagant rituals and sacrifices in which the hearts of the people were not present. Empty practices were of no value in the eyes of God. God did not lay claim simply to peoples’ Sabbaths or Sundays. God was the God of peoples’ lives, day in and day out, everyday. Thus Micah told the people that what God desired of God’s covenant children was a way of life, that in fact God’s people should do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with God.

For the future it may very well be that faithful, public walk with God, seeking what God desires that will be the draw for people and their discretionary time. It will be the everyday, faithful witness of those who follow the Savior that will have the greatest impact upon people who are seeking something that not all of the busy-ness of the world can fill or satisfy.

Don Rose is pastor of the Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.