Greetings from the good people of the Red Roof Church. I’m Lee Harder, senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas, wishing you God’s blessings and much joy at this time of thanksgiving. We invite you to join us every Sunday for worship at 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM as we celebrate Christ in our lives. With the celebration of Thanksgiving soon upon us, I would offer a special invitation to come worship with us Wednesday evening, November 27th at 7:00 PM as we give thanks to our Creator for all He has done for us.
This past week Karen got a picture from someone that speaks volumes. She ended up sharing it with her Facebook friends and I’m sharing it with you. It was actually a collage of four pictures. The top picture showed the massive crowds that gather along the streets lining a Thanksgiving Day Parade. The city in question doesn’t matter because the amount of humanity seeking to catch a glimpse of the floats & marching bands is pretty much the same any where you go. It is mass humanity. The second picture was a shot of the huge crowds pushing at the doors of some store ready to stampede for the Black Friday specials on sale. (I wonder if the crowds will be as big the day after Thanksgiving this year since Black Friday seemed to start last week already. Probably, since people can’t pass up the big screen TV or game system on sale, even if they have several already.) They’ll be out in force. The third picture was of an stadium packed to over whelming at a Saturday sporting event, probably football; but, other sports are drawing their share of crowds, too. People, people, people, packed so close together that one could faint and never fall to the ground due to the closeness of those standing near.
Then came the last picture of the collection. It was a picture of a church service. It wasn’t difficult to count the people attending because there were so few. You could almost hear the echoes coming from the empty space.
It’s a sad epitaph on the state of affairs in our world today.
According to one of the latest revelations from the Pew Foundation, research indicates that people who consider themselves to be Christian and religious are leaving the church. Every age group is leaving even if some are doing it more energetically than others and they are not coming back. Oh, they shuffle around for a while, departing from the mainline churches and checking out the non-denominational, “happy” churches, but they are in the long run leaving. Apparently God is too demanding and restrictive.
Similar things happened in the days of Solomon when the people migrated away from God and found a fascination with the pagan gods he imported thanks to his many wives. This went on for the second half of his forty-one year reign as king over Israel. In the end, after he died and his son Rehoboam took over the kingdom, it was divided and ultimately, lost as Babylon destroyed the temple and much of Jerusalem, carting off the cream if Jewish society to slavery.
Judging by the diminishing church involvement today and the rise in pursuing the pantheon of modern day false deities we seem infatuated with, we may find ourselves facing the same kind of challenges.
As we approach a national time of thanksgiving, it might be the right time to remember the God who loves us, died for us, and seeks nothing less than to spend eternity with us. We have much to be thankful for, even in our modern world, with which God has blessed us. I hope you’ll find a church that offers a thanksgiving service and in worshipful praise, give thanks to the author of our lives.
And those are my thoughts. God bless and see you in church.
Pastor Lee R. Harder