St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
   the Lord loves the gates of Zion
    more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken,
    O city of God. – Psalm 87:1-3

Is today’s church really all that well-established? Seems that today, when we look at the vastness we call the Christian Church, what we see instead is a teetering hut of sticks and mud destined to be pushed over by a gust of wind or a bit of rain. And if it’s true that the Church has somehow preserved itself until today, perhaps only fragments of what it once was — a thread or two of connectivity to that ancient and glorious Church — still remain. Perhaps it is foolish to speak of the Church as a glorious and God-filled place, the Church of God on earth. Tens of thousands of people leaving the church annually, no new Christians seem to be filling the ranks of the wayward or those who have died…the church today seems to be supported only by a single generation and a few younger stragglers who hang around, but what it once was in its “glory days” is gone. And sadly, there are as many “options” for churches and worship styles and theological teachings as there are night clubs, shopping centers, and coffee shops! Get sick of one flavor? Just go elsewhere. Doctrinal pants too tight? Just head to the vast mall of “have it your way” to find a church that fits your thighs more comfortably. Not having enough of a good time at one church? Go find another that is more suited to your needs and desires.

What in heaven’s name is “glorious” about any of this? Where is God’s church, the City of God, mighty Zion, the place where His people come together as one to worship Him and serve one another in fellowship, unity, and peace?

In truth, what WE see with our eyes, the church on earth, appears to be very week and convoluted. We see a shattered, fractured church, a church full of infighting, of disagreement, of lax and compromise. We see a church where less and less people frequent because we live in a society where, generation after generation, people have been told, taught, and brainwashed into believing there is no God, no Christ, no heaven or hell, so no point in church.

And yet, God’s Church is unshakable and firmly planted upon the holy mountain. It is established upon the love of God which is more important to Him than anything. Because of His love, God has gathered, and continues to gather, people from all time and space and leads them into the eternal kingdom of glory. His love is like solid granite, worth more than diamonds, and is unbreakable. No power of the world, of the devil, or of sin can thwart it, break it, or topple it. This world will pass away, but God and His love, His Word, His salvation will stand forever.

What we build can be unbuilt, destroyed, washed away, burned, or succumb to rot. What God has built stands forever because it was built before time itself. God permits the evil and dark powers of this world to destroy even the best works of men to keep them humble and trusting in Him alone, and He will until the Last Day. But His work, His Church, His love are forever. And because God and His love is about reconciliation; because Christ has died and His blood has been shed, God builds His church, not with wood or steal, but by covering our guilt and wrapping us in Christ. And not even the sins of the believers, of the true Church, can remove this covering. THIS alone makes us the glorious City of God!

God of righteousness, thank You for saving me and calling me Your child. Keep me firmly standing on Your Word and promises and continue to preserve Your church against all adversities of Your love and forgiveness. Unite all believers under one confession of faith and bring an end to false teaching and the teachers that propagate it. Even so, Lord, come quickly and bring us at last to our eternal home. In Jesus’ name, amen.