I am Canadian and as a rule do not observe Memorial Day. We have Remembrance Day in Canada on November 11. However, I happened to be home just before lunch today and flicked on the TV to catch a few minutes of the Jays game (playing in Baltimore). I caught a few minutes of the ceremony before the game as they observed Memorial Day and sang the American national anthem. So Memorial Day and baseball have me thinking.
There were men and women from the military dressed in the finest uniforms. The anthem was played in the traditional way. The people in the stands stood respectfully and the men were asked to remove their hats. The ball players stood also and removed their hats. There was certainly a deep sense of reverence. It got me thinking - what if they messed around with that? What if they came out in "civies?" What if they set the American national anthem to a more "contemporary" tune? What if all the players sat on the ground in a more relaxed and comfortable manner? What if the fans in the stands sat around and ate their hot dogs and nacho cheese chips as this was going on?
It would be a disgrace. People would be outraged. Parents who saw their children acting like that would be ashamed. The musicians and singers who messed around with the national anthem would be scorned (remember Rosanne Barr?). People would be astonished at the complete lack of respect and decorum shown by the people at such an important time.
Why is it we expect less in God's house? Why is it that many would like to lose the reverence to bring in a more "comfortable" atmosphere? Why is it pastors think it is a good idea to ditch the vestments and wear pants and shirt? Why is it that some think they can plug in any old song with any tune and it will be fitting? Try that at the ball park on Memorial day...
When we go to Divine Service we enter God's house. He is there for us in His Word and Sacrament. The people at a ball park on Memorial Day have a sense of reverence. It is expected. It is agreed upon. Why should it be any less when we gather as God's people for Divine Service where our Lord is for us?
How we act and how we dress tells a lot about what we think about what we are doing. Memorial Day and baseball have me thinking...
So, is it just me? The writing for today from Gregory the Great seems to be a perfect example of a thoroughly allegorical interpretation of a biblical text. No? The point he makes is certainly true - but is that really the point one ought to draw from that text? Or, is he just using a biblical picture to make a point - like an "illustration?" It was fun reading it though!
OK, so you want to see some of the quality stuff we are going to get this summer at the Fourth Annual St. John Chrysostom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat in Lumsden? Check our Pastor Petersen's post on anger.....
I have not read the book or seen the film. I read The Da Vinci Code and endured the movie. I will not spend anymore time on Dan Brown's junk. However, a friend of mine from "back in the day" reviews movies. Below is a link to his review. It is short and sweet.
The next in my list of things that give me pause in North American Lutheranism is: congregational elders. It is not that I dislike elders - in fact I find the Board of Elders at my congregation rather helpful in several ways. The thing that gives me pause is the way in which in LCMS/LCC circles the congregational elders are viewed. Somewhere a long the line the office of the congregational elder began to be seen as part of the Office of the Holy Ministry. I have done an informal and non-scientific poll of several pastors in the LCMS/LCC and in almost every case there was confusion and ignorance over the congregational elder and many expressed some sort of vague understanding that the congregational elder somehow derived its existence and authority from the Pastoral office. This is absolutely false. The CPH book The Caring Elder did nothing to help this and in fact made it worse.
The congregational elder as we have them are a creation of the congregation in its Christian freedom. There is no biblical mandate that a congregation must have elders (as we in North America understand them). In fact, as I understand it, the congregational elder as we have them are an innovation among Lutherans brought about by Walther. The office of congregational elder derives nothing from the Pastoral office. It may be created by the congregation to aid the pastor in carrying out his office - but it derives nothing from it.
This is in no way to denigrate the work of congregational elders. The congregation has the freedom to create such offices as it sees fit. I greatly appreciate the work of the elders in the parishes I serve. However, we need to clear up the confusion regarding this area of duty for the Christian in the congregation. It has led to all sorts of mischief such as lay people presiding over the Sacrament, etc.
I believe that this confusion stems from the LCMS/LCC confusion on the Office of the Holy Ministry. I suppose for me the confusion on the Office of the Holy Ministry could be Things that Give Me Pause in North American Lutheranism #1-5 but I thought I would pick smaller issues. I do believe that if we can get a consistent and orthodox way of viewing the Holy Ministry several of the troubles among us would disappear.
So, any congregational elders reading this, thanks be to God for your service. I just would like us to clarify these things.
There are many things that give me pause in North American Lutheranism. What I mean by that is that there are a number of things that make me wonder why they are the way they are. I am not necessarily saying they are wrong or even that I disagree with them - simply that they give me pause and I am currently giving them thought. The first things that gives me pause:
The term President in the LCMS/LCC. We use the term District President and Synod President. Why? I am not aware of any other Lutheran church body in the world that uses the term "President" for the ecclesiastical supervisors. I could be wrong on that - but I think even if I am wrong it is fair to say that the vast majority of Lutheran church bodies around the world refer to their ecclesiastical supervisors as "Bishop." As do Roman Catholics, Anglicans, etc.
So why is the LCMS/LCC adverse to using the term "Bishop?" I don't know. It makes no sense to me. The term Bishop is a wonderful biblical term. Episkopos - overseer. This is what we ask our District Presidents and Synod Presidents to do. Yes, by human arrangement, we ask these men in the Office of the Holy ministry to take this area responsibility - but why do we not call them Bishop? Maybe some don't like the hats...
I don't really understand why not. I have been told that some Lutherans think it sounds "too catholic." Well, that is no reason. I have been told that some Lutherans don't like it because it distinguishes between those in the Office of the Holy Ministry. Well, we do that now but we call the man "President." No, we don't see different orders in the Office of the Ministry - but we do ask men to assume different responsibilities in some cases.
Why would we avoid the use of a biblical term, that has a history of usage in the Church, for a term that matches the business model far better than the picture of the Church? Ask anyone outside the LCMS/LCC and especially from outside Lutheranism or the Church herself what a District President is or a Synod President is and they will have no idea. Ask them what a Bishop is and they know what you are talking about. It is a Church term.
Why don't we use the term Bishop? Anyone have any thoughts? For this gives me pause...
I find this hard to believe. Do you think there really are significant differences between restaurants in Canada and the US? I find it especially hard to believe since many of the restaurants up here are US Companies anyway?