Herald Journal Columns
June 20, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

‘Just thinking’

By Rev. Dan Swanson, First Baptist Church, Cokato

The pastor under whom I did my first-year seminary internship, told all of us interns about the fear he had of preaching at his church because one of the members of his congregation was a seminary professor.

This professor could read, write, and speak eight different languages fluently. He told us that the professor would bring his Hebrew Old Testament and his Greek New Testament, putting one on each knee while the pastor was preaching.

This must have had a profound impact on me, because I’m more nervous whenever another pastor is in attendance. I can’t imagine a seminary professor so fluent in so many languages.

At this, the beginning of the summer attendance season, I usually think about the worship attendance patterns of people. And usually, I think about being the rabbi or worship leader at the synagogue in Nazareth that Jesus attended every week.

Luke, the gospel writer, notes that it was Jesus’ custom or habit to attend (Luke 4:16). All of my life, I have been trying to encourage followers of Jesus to make attendance an every week experience.

I have had some limited success with it. I hope you who read this column would consider the pattern established by Jesus and follow His example.

Summers are like every other season; a time when we ought to be sure to be faithful in copying Jesus’ example.

But, coming back to my original point, how would you like to have the Son of God sitting in your congregation, while being responsible for planning and ordering the worship and the homily or sermon for Him to critique?

Knowing what I know now, I would much rather have the learned professor, who knew eight languages, than to have the Son of God attending.

Perhaps the most amazing bit of truth here is that Jesus went to synagogue worship at all, considering that He knew far more than any rabbi could ever hope to know!

It is really about “right-ness,” “obedience,” and “worshiping God with others.” I hope you will realize that and continue to make it your customary practice, especially this summer.

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