Friday, October 8, 2010

Feelings In Church

Transcription of a conversation with Pastor William Weedon on Issues, Etc.
(Lutheran theology radio program formerly on KFUO AM St. Louis):

There used to be a pastor in this city named Timothy Quill.

He once told a story: he was a Circuit Counselor, a pastor who helped other pastors in the area, and a person had come to him complaining, saying "You know, I just don't get anything out of my pastor's worship service. Nothing. Nothing."

And Quill puckered his brow and said. "I'm confused. Does your pastor speak to you the Word of the Absolution and does he forgive you sins in Jesus' name?"

And the lady says "Oh yeah, he does that."

And he said "Well, does he read from the Word of God to you?"

And she goes "Well, Yeah, yeah ... he does that that every week."

"Does he preach to you about the forgiveness of sins that's yours because of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection?"

And she says "Oh, every week ... without fail ... he does that."

"And does he put into your mouth the Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?"

And she goes "Well, yes ... without fail."

"Then I don't understand. What is it you're not GETTING out of worship? You get the forgiveness of your sins, you get the gift of eternal life, you get the Lord's Body and Blood. What were you're looking for?"

And the answer is: "I was looking for a feeling." But then, as she listened to Pastor Quill talk, she walked away thinking 'Well maybe there's a little more going on here than my feelings alone.'

The gift of God in worship -- the gifts of God -- are objective and real whether you feel great about them or whether you feel nothing. And that's one of the most beautiful things about Christian worship. It doesn't DEPEND upon your feelings.

Pr. Wilken: Should we be anti-feeling?

Pr. Weedon: No. When the feelings are there enjoy them, as they are in every other part of your life. You know? And when they are not there, don't sweat it. They'll come back.

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