Why do you not advertise how unique your church is?
"Take off your sandals for the ground on which you stand is holy."
In our church you will find a pretty boring sanctuary. There is really nothing special about it. The people for that matter aren't that special either. We are not that amazing considering what the world views as glorious. We aren't of noble status. We don't have a rockin band. We don't have lights that will dazzle your eyes. We don't really find our identity as a church in how special, how different we are. We don't assume to know better than those who have come before us. We don't see ourselves as those who will correct all the mistakes of our fathers and mothers. We are not the savior of the church. We don't think we are God's gift to the world contending we will get things right where everyone else has failed.
Our church is pretty plain.
Our people are pretty plain.
Our pastor is especially plain.
Christ himself was pretty plain. He was not glorious in the eyes of the world. He had nothing that really set him apart visually. There was nothing notable about his stature. He was…plain. Perfectly plain.
However with eyes of faith Jesus was not so plain. Those who walked by faith and not by sight were given a glimpse into heaven when they saw Jesus. Those whose eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit have the scales of unbelief washed off and see a Savior. Jesus was, despite his appearance, most glorious, the glory of the Father. The fullness of God. This was most visible when Jesus died on the cross. That's what set Jesus apart, his cross.
So too that's what sets our church apart. The cross of Christ. Christ crucified.
Our sanctuary is not holy by what we do, but by what Christ has always done for his people throughout all time in specific places, he tabernacles with them.
Our people are not holy by what we do, but by what Christ has always done for his people throughout all time through faith, he "holies" us.
Through his word and sacraments Christ "holies" people.
What sets us apart?
Christ crucified for our sins.
What makes Immanuel unique?
Christ and his forgiveness is given out here for plain sinners.
So you will not find us terrible different than you. In fact we are just like you. We don't come to Immanuel because we are so different. We come because the one who is here is different.
We come here because we cannot be given forgiveness from God anywhere else. Christ is present for us in reality.
Through eyes of faith we hear the difference, "In the stead and by the command of Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Through eyes of faith we taste the difference, "Take and eat this is the body of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Take and drink, this is Christ's blood, for you."
Through eyes of faith we are washed, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." We are not unique, but made holy with all the saints of God.
Pretty plain…perfectly plain. For you.