"For Righteousness' Sake"
November 18, 2010
But all things should be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40
When I go out to speak, I wear a black preacher's gown.
There is a reason for that simple black robe. Without ornament or decoration, it is designed to tell the assembled worshippers that it is Jesus, not anybody else, who is at the center of the service.
Now the reason I bring this up is because a week or two ago, a fellow who says he "dresses like Jesus" showed up at my home congregation in St. Louis. Although I was out of town, it has been hard to miss the newspaper articles and TV reports.
They've had a field day as they've posted headlines like this: "Man Dressed As Jesus Kicked Out Of Church." Almost all the media seemed to be suggesting the church should have welcomed the "Jesus wannabe."
Well, I disagree.
Simply stated: worship has a twofold purpose. First, it gives people a chance to thank God for His many blessings, especially those that have come through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Second, it gives the Lord a chance to speak to us, to guide us, and forgive us.
Those are two things my church does well. And there's another thing they do well. They take care of Jesus' flock.
The bottom line is this: we live in a world filled with crackpots, some of whom are dangerous. In this particular instance the man showed up at worship unannounced. The fact he was carrying a large stick (which he called a "staff") did not help the matter. Staff or stick, it was a piece of wood that could have done some serious damage.
Since they didn't know the mental condition of the man, or what he intended to do with his stick, or whether he wanted to take over the worship, or attack the pastors in their pulpit, the leaders of the church acted prudently and positioned him where his presence would not disturb others and, if the need arose, he might be contained.
He didn't like that. Apparently, he didn't know that Jesus, not a man dressed like Jesus, is the center of a Lutheran church service.
This is just my way of thanking my church leaders for doing things decently and in order. It may not have given you good press, but it was the right thing to do. And I pray that my churches would have done the same.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, as a Christian family, we come together to worship and thank You. For pastors whose messages center upon You, for leaders who try to assure our worship should be done decently and in order, we give thanks. May they be blessed as they feed the lambs and the sheep of Your flock. This I pray in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries