⛪ Share Your Church Service! (2021 Archive)

Today’s service was about Hannah, the father of Samuel, who was grieved with her infertility. Despite her subservient role in society, she went forward and personally went to the temple and asked God to be granted a child (back then it was viewed that infertility was God’s doing), and her boldness and faith was rewarded.

The pastor also linked this into the idea that even as there are struggles in this life, God always offers a happy ending. Things can be bad now, but they’ll get better, whether in this life or the next. However, we shouldn’t just sit around and wait for things to get better. We should, like Hannah, be willing to directly confront our problems, trust in God’s goodness, and try to make things better.

This week our service was about how early Judaism improved with exposure to other cultures, which God put them into contact with. Being exposed to other views doesn’t attack our faith, but rather allows us to expand our faith. Give us new perspective for what we believe, so it can be a stronger, more actionable faith.

I have a cousin named Hannah

My church is doing a message series about Christmas, and they’re focusing on characters that don’t get as much attention as others. This week the focus was on Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-24,57-66). He emphasized the difference between the birth of Jesus, who was born from a virgin, and John the Baptist, who was conceived the way all babies are. The pastor actually got pretty blunt in his language, talking about how the angel’s announcement “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son” was a command for Zechariah and Elizabeth to have sex. Ultimately I liked how he was open about it and didn’t shy away from the more mature connotations in the Scripture passages.

I guess that’s a good thing! Those events were very important and holy so treating them with shame sends the wrong message.

This week the church service was about John the Baptist’s preaching before the coming of Christ. The pastor emphasized how harsh he was, calling the people a brood of vipers and warning them of fruitless trees being cut down and chaff being separated from wheat and thrown in the fire. John then emphasized that despite all this, he had good news: One greater than he was coming (Jesus), and salvation could be reached through Him.

Our pastor emphasized something interesting. Rather than what I’d heard before of the wheat and chaff being different people, the pastor was treating it like the wheat and chaff are all parts of us. Our sin will be burned away, not “sinners,” and that’s why this is good news. John isn’t calling it “good news” that some people will suffer. Rather, that our wheat will be separated from our chaff, with the latter being burned away in unquenchable fire.

That’s a very interesting interpretaion! It reminds me a lot of what Paul says in I Corinthians,

"For none can lay another foundation apart from that which is laid – that is, Christ Jesus. However if anyone build upon this foundation – gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s own work shall be evident.

For the day shall shed light on it; because in fire it shall be revealed. And the fire shall prove what quality each one’s work might be: if their work shall remain that they built up, they shall receive their reward; if their work burn, they shall suffer the destruction; although they themselves shall be saved – yet as it were through the fire." (I Cor. 3:11-15)

Watching/listening to a late-night Communion and candlelight service!