The congregation of St. John Lutheran Church is close knit (approximately 225 members), welcoming, friendly, and actively involved in the life of the church.
Visitors are always encouraged and welcomed.
The congregation of St. John Lutheran Church is a community of diverse talents and backgrounds, gathered around the Word of God and what He gives in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
From the Pastor
Business as usual. It depends on which side of the “as usual” you’re on, doesn’t it? If it’s good for you, you want it to stay the same. Standard Oil a hundred years ago was a perfect test for this. If you were a small-time oil producer (yes, there really used to be such a thing), Standard Oil would roll into town and undercut your business by dropping prices below profitability until you were forced to declare bankruptcy. The ink would still be wet on all the bank paperwork while Standard Oil was buying up all your equipment for pennies on the dollar, then they would raise prices as high as people could stand it. And people couldn’t stand it, but there was nothing they could do about it, especially once Standard Oil started buying politicians, but that’s a different story, and I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.
In the olden days, in the real olden days, back when the Israelites were still a thing, the same thing was basically in effect. They rushed into Canaan with a roar, wiping out the evil Canaanites left and right, as much as they could, until they were exhausted. Joshua wrote down all the kings they had killed then added, “Well, we have a long way to go.” And the Israelites settled down for a long struggle, a generations-long struggle. They met the Canaanites and got personal with them. The Canaanites introduced them to a fellow named Baal. “Hey, you Israelites,” they said. “if you worship Baal with us, then business will keep going on as usual.” The Israelites replied, “Business as usual?” “Business as usual,” the Canaanites nodded. The Israelites agreed, saying, “Well, it sure beats this constant warfare.” And the rest is a sad history.
Business as usual: you do something good, you get rewarded; you do something bad, you get punished. And so business as usual is basically polishing off that rugged brick we lug around, painting it with gold just before we lay it before our supposed master, whomever it is we call God. “Look!” we say, “I’ve brought you a gold brick!” Business as usual. Whatever bad we do which we cannot manage to polish up into something that looks like good-well, we bury that somewhere, don’t we. “Don’t look in the closet of my conscience. There’s nothing bad in there.” Business as usual.
Jesus comes and turns over all the tables. “I forgive you!” he says. “Trust me. I really do forgive you!” And now the test of faith: are we Standard Oil? Are we in our hearts worshiping an idol with the word “God” scrawled at the bottom? Or do we trust Jesus to actually clear the decks? To clear our consciences with his very own blood?
So we rejoice in Jesus, even as we struggle to trust him. I think this is where we want to be, constantly witnessing to those around us who are complaining about Standard Oil but can do nothing about it, complaining about business as usual–aren’t they exhausted? Isn’t it a relief to know that you don’t have to keep polishing bricks?
Our Mission Statement
We, the members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Youngstown, New York, are dedicated to the worship of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible was written by the inspiration of God and are committed to spreading this Word throughout the community and the world. With the help of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will continue to grow in our efforts to bring others to know of His unfailing love for His people.