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Who are you rooting for now?

Dear Friends,

I spent Saturday night in a NY hotel lobby (after our nephew's wedding) watching our beloved Phils season come to a screeching halt. If that weren't bad enough, I was surrounded by NY Mets fans who were cheering on the Phillies demise. I wanted to tell them how deplorable their behavior was. However, true confessions - I cheered the Yankees demise to the Texas Rangers only a few days before. However, I will also admit that it is not nearly as satisfying rooting against a team as it is rooting for a team.

Perhaps that is why so many of us are so tired of the political ads on television and why so much of the American public is tired of the church. Far too often, in politics and religion, we are outspoken about what we are against, not what we are for in this world.

The last time I checked, Jesus was neither Republican nor Democrat. Also, the last time I checked, Christ had one body, his one church doing mission in the world And yet, whether we are demonstrating over issues of social justice or decrying moral depravity around us (sometimes in other churches), our focus is taken away from Luther's primary purpose of the Reformation, to draw people's attention to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Mark chapter 9, the disciples want Jesus to stop someone from casting out demons in Jesus' name because he is not one of them. Jesus refuses, explaining that they are all on the same team. The disciples are trying to say, "If you are not for us, you are against us." But Jesus says, "Whoever is not against us is for us." Jesus' quote may leave you scratching your head but it also leaves room for differing perspectives and differing approaches to the challenges of this world, even if the two "sides" don't always agree. In the end, Jesus, the disciples, and the man could all agree that casting out demons was a good thing, something they could all root for, despite their differences.

Jesus shows us here and in other parts of the Gospel that it is much more satisfying to be rooting for something, the healing of the world, than it is to be rooting against someone. We root for our favorite teams - we don't root for injuries to the opposition. Because there is always a picture that is bigger than a single game or a single battle. I'm rooting for Cliff Lee and the Rangers. If I didn't like them, I wouldn't watch just to root against the Giants. When all is said and done, we've got two very talented but very different teams who should give us some very good baseball.

Come join us in worship this weekend as we celebrate not just Halloween but the Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, a movement that was not intended to split us into teams but to refocus the one team's (Christ's body in the world) attention on God's plan of salvation for the world. There will be Holy Communion at all services (Saturday at 5PM, Sunday at 8:15 and 11AM). There will be refreshments after Sunday worship and we will be welcoming some new players to the team at our 11:00 Service. See you in church!

Pastor Mueller


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