Thursday, September 14, 2017
Have to laugh. . .
In the same way, many Lutherans who were born into the Lutheran Church tend to forget or simply have chosen to ignore what Lutherans believe, confess, and teach. But not the converts. Those who grew up in churches in which the faith was diluted or hijacked are happy to find a church where the Confessions replace feelings and opinions or the latest cultural trends. Those who grew up without a faith are thrilled to find a God who does what He says, keeps His promises, and is present where He has said He will be to bestow what He has pledged. Those who come with guilty conscience are drawn to Him who absolves the sinner by the blood of Christ.
In my own parish, with so many converts, there is real excitement from those converts to be in a confessional Lutheran congregation and to worship with the richness of the historic liturgy, hymns that speak the Gospel, and reverence the present God. They hunger to know the Scriptures because they speak of Christ and to learn the doctrine of the faith (that does not change). Yet, sadly, it is not always the case for those who have always been Lutheran. I do not mean to diminish them or anyone. I am a cradle Lutheran. But what you have always had, you do not always appreciate. One of the great gifts of converts is that the draw our attention to that which we knew but have either forgotten or grown complacent about. God bless them.
Under it all, it is easy to forget that ours is, after all, a missionary faith. Lutheranism is not just for Lutherans only. We are happy to hold babies in our arms over the font and to teach them the faith in Sunday school and catechism class and to watch them become adults. Absolutely! But we are just as happy to welcome those who grew up in another church or who grew up with no church at all. Remember the story of the employer who sent out laborers into the vineyard at different hours? This was not just words. The Church welcomes people at different points in their lives but the point is the welcome of the Gospel and not who was first and who came late.
Some want only converts and others want only the cradle kind. I want them all because God wants them all. It is a marvelous thing when those experienced in the faith offer to the converts the example of their patient endurance and it is a wonderful thing when converts offer to the cradle Christians their confident enthusiasm. It is always a problem when we forget this and much choose between them.