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Mark Twain is known and remembered for a lot of things, but Christian faith isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, he did say some remarkable things that Christians need to hear. One of the more insightful comments he made is this: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain).

You can’t not worship. Ignore my use of the ungrammatical double negative and try to understand what I’m saying. You can’t not worship. Or to put it yet another way, “we can’t not love something ultimate” (James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love, 20). You may choose not to sing. You may choose not to bow down. You may choose not to lift your hands. You may choose not to give any outward or physical expression to your devotion, but you can’t not worship.

When we stand and sing our praise to God as a congregation, we should probably pause and express our gratitude to the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). This year, as you probably know, is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that to a large extent was launched by Luther on October 31, 1517. What you probably don’t know about Luther is that he was largely responsible for introducing into the life of the evangelical church the practice of congregational singing. From the Council of Laodicea in the 4th century until Luther in the early years of the 16th century, virtually no one sang in church except for the ordained clergy.

We who live in the United States are witnesses to and participants in a power struggle that occurs every four years. We’ve just emerged from one. Whatever else you may think about the race for the presidency of the United States, be assured of this one thing: it is all about the pursuit of power. Yes, there are certain individuals who run for office based on principle, but they are few and far between. Most do so because they have an insatiable passion for power.

Nothing will stir up and agitate the emotions of Christian men and women as much as a discussion of the role of emotions in Christian men and women. Is it bad for a Christian to feel good? Or is it good to feel bad? Or are feelings, whether good or bad, irrelevant to the one who believes in Jesus? Are our emotions as Christian men and women something to enjoy or avoid? Are they a source of delight or a sign of danger, or in some sense both?

I’ve lost count of the number of weddings I’ve performed over the past 44 years of ministry, but I do remember one in particular. It was the wedding of an American man and a British young lady. She happened to be living with Ann and me at the time. When we sat down to discuss details of the ceremony she asked if I would be willing to use the vows that are frequently employed in older Anglican wedding ceremonies. “Sure,” I said. Among the things that both the bride and groom would recite were these words of commitment: