Mark 2:27-28 And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."
Sometimes we do things so often, that often we forget why we are doing them, it becomes a habit, and there are good habits, it is even good that it is habitual – that is our regular practice. It is not my intention to change any good habits, but rather to help us to explain what it is we are doing to others. While I am certain we can all come up with explanations, perhaps we need a reminder ourselves, as to the benefits of our practice. So lets begin with what we have all done today – we have gone to church. This is a good thing, but how would we explain it best? Where do we even begin?
Lets begin with God, we could say – we go to church to worship God. That’s good, and its true, and it would lead us into explaining what worship is, and why we worship God. Problem is that we would have a lot of explaining to do, before someone could see the benefits. Sometimes its nice to keep things simple.
So, suppose we say – we go to church because God commands everyone to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. This also is true, and probably something everyone already knows in their hearts, for God wrote the law in the hearts of all people. But the problem with the law, is that it does not tell you what to do if you have broken it, all the law tell us is that you are a sinner and deserve punishment. So while this is a short explanation, chances are it will make most people feel guilty.
And so we try again – "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;" – that is, God gave us a day of rest, because he knew we needed it, and because it would be good for us. And not only did he give us a day of rest, he gave us his example – for on the 7th day after creation, God rested – and if things survived while God rested, so also, nothing is so important, that the world will stop, should we rest on the day God has given us. This has a benefit, in that anyone who would argue with it, is argueing that they are more important than God. And that is a tough argument to win. It is a beginning in of an explanation, but it still is missing something.
You see, sometimes we forget that the reason why we go to church is because what it does for us. We all sin much, daily. Such sin sepparates us from God. Such sin subjects us to God’s wrath. And the wages of sin is punishment and death. Who can save us from what our sins have earned? Jesus, and so we come to confess our sins, and received forgiveness in the blood of Jesu Christ, who cleanses us from all sin.
How important is this? It is important enough that some people would like to change our order of service – you see, on occasion, some people arrive late, and they miss confession, and absolution. They do not get to hear the good news that their sins are forgiven. And this is a great treasure.
Forgiveness is important, it removes the obstacle that seppartes us from the love of God, it is something that God does for us, he pardons us, he removes the obstalce, he pays our debt.
But forgiveness is only the first step, the next step is to restore a right relationship – and that’s reconciliation. You see, it is not enough just to remove the thing that sepparates us from God, because that doesn’t restore the relationship. Which is why, we always talk about more than just forgiveness, God restores a right relationship – he brings us to him – He puts our feet again on the path of life. That is reconciliation – when God again calls us his dear children.
But there is more to our worship that forgiveness and reconciliation – the remainder of worship is living in that right relationship with God