Pastor’s Email Devotion, July 26, 2015 – Sister Dottie, Guest Devotioneer

Pastor’s Email Devotion – Sister Dottie, Guest Devotioneer
The Week of Pentecost 9
July 26, 2015

SCRIPTURE — So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, read whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.- Ephesians 2:19-22
Let’s face it, the church isn’t what she used to be 20 years ago. We seem to be at a precipice of the beginning of the end of the institutionalized church. We read Facebook blogs and Christian journal articles about the decline of the number of persons attending the church, especially the “millennials and younger”. There seems to be a growing fear of the end of the Christian church.

REFLECTION — After attending the ELCA National Youth gathering in Detroit last week, I can enthusiastically say that this is NOT what I experienced. Over 30,000 youth and adult leaders attending this week of worship, service and study and these youth were excited about their faith! They took to the streets to do service ministries as fellow citizens of the saints. They wore T-shirts with various Christian messages that included “Turn Up for Jesus”, which was created by our own youth Mallory Yeingst and Liam Fyfe.
Youth and adults from across the nation came together in worship and praise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While it may not have taken place inside a traditional church building, it absolutely was worship, including music, messages and Holy Communion. You couldn’t help but feel the energy that was in Ford Field as youth and adults danced and clapped their hands.
Maybe our numbers are declining in our church buildings, but perhaps it is also time to take a look at how we can “do church” differently. Our young people want to serve others, want to be part of the energy of a worship setting and thrive in community. This isn’t to say that our traditional way of worship is past, but we can’t use tradition as an excuse to hold us back from experiencing Christ in a new and energizing way. As the writer of Ephesians states, “you are also being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit”. Do I need to point out that this scripture doesn’t read into a physical dwelling? We are to be in community where ever the Holy Spirit may lead us, and that may be in a large indoor football field, out in the mission fields of our communities or even in our church buildings. We are after all Citizens with all saints everywhere and in the words of the 2015 National Youth Gathering; we are to help the universal church “Rise Up”!

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.