Where Do We Come From?
Everybody comes from somewhere! We all have a genealogy, a family, or a tribe. Praise & Worship is a Congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
While it isn’t popular to talk about “denominations” these days, we are pleased to introduce to you our group of Jesus followers. We walk together! In fact, that is what the word “synod” means: walking together.
We walk together, we work together, we struggle together, we weep together and we rejoice together. It get's pretty messy sometimes. But we are people who follow Jesus. And we confess, together, that HE is the Risen Lord and that He alone can restore this broken world. Of course, the mystery in that amazing fact is that He has commissioned all those who believe in Him and follow Him to actually be His instruments for spreading His promises to the world!
We share an unrelenting passion for God's Word and the centrality of Jesus revealed in Scripture. What's amazing about this, is that we don't limit "God's Word" to just those words written down. But we believe that those written words are proclaimed and brought to all of us in tangible, concrete ways!
We not only walk together, we have a common confession. That’s another word that might sound strange to 21st Century ears: confession. In this case, confession means speaking together. We say the same things! Together, we say "Jesus is LORD." Together, we say: "this" is what it looks like to submit to Him, to proclaim Him, to follow Him and much more. And that, friends, is HUGE. How often do you find large groups of people who agree on lots of different things?
The word "Lutheran" does not mean we think Martin Luther was some sort of higher man. Quite the contrary. He was a normal man, a broken man, who through his own struggle of asking "Who is God?" and "What do I think of Him?" was led to a moment which he describes this way:
At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.
A quote from the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Writings
His "discovery" led to the ignition of a chain of events in the 1500's which we now call the Protestant Reformation, a time in the history of the world when everything began to change—again. Most notable for us, was when these reformers stood up in the midst of a boiling cauldron of political, social and religious pressures and "confessed" in Augsburg in June of 1530, what we now call the Augsburg Confession.
This moment in the history of Christianity (and the world!) was a defining moment for people who were seeking to follow Jesus. It is a moment that we continue to be defined by and thus we continue to confess! We are part of a very Ancient Church. And yet, that Ancient Church—the very Body of Jesus Himself—is still doing what she has always done: proclaim God's Word in spoken, written and sacramental form.
So when we say we are a Lutheran Church in Branson, Missouri, we are not saying our church is all "about" Martin Luther. He's just our "uncle Marty"! Instead, we are saying that he reminded us to do what the universal, Ancient Church had been doing all along: pointing people to Jesus. He was, through his own struggles, his own suffering, returning us to where it all started, to the right foundation. And isn't that what our family, our roots, our tribe, is supposed to do?
Praise and Worship is one of four Lutheran churches (LCMS) in the Branson, Missouri (Tri-Lakes) area. Be sure to check out our sister churches, Faith Lutheran in Branson, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran in Kimberling City and Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran in Forsyth!