Sunday, August 13, 2017
Elephant in the room. . .
I read this and at once wonder if Luecke belongs to the same church I do. My own parish is filled with millenials, we have lots of singles and young marrieds in that age groups, have had more than 30 baptisms so far this year, and have many babies, toddlers, and youngsters in worship every Sunday. Half of our 70-100 new members each year are adult confirmands. We would be a mega church except that millenials tend to be mobile and many move out every year. Alas, they are sometimes lost to Lutheranism or at least Missouri because they cannot find a Lutheran congregation with reverent and rich liturgical worship, vibrant Biblical preaching and teaching, a strong music program, deep and welcoming friendships, and high confidence in and expectation of our life together under the cross.
Instead of head knowledge, liturgical worship focuses on all the senses (even smell with incense) and the ceremonial and ritual reflection of what is spoken or sung into the ear only reinforces the power of God working in the Spirit but through the means of grace. The problem here is not confirmation or catechism that expects head knowledge and even memorization, the problem is that there is no family life to nurture and model this faith and piety. One can hardly find prayer to be meaningful at church if it is only at church. One cannot expect the congregation to replace the home as the place where nurture of the faith takes place.
Finally, Luecke asks what works. Well, what works to fill the pews is not necessarily what works to create and sustain a new life in Christ. What works? I thought we Lutherans knew the answer to this. The Word of God and the Sacraments of God. They work and never disappoint us. They are the center of the liturgy, the font and summit of our Christian life and hope. We are born again not of decision or will or program or choice or preference or even of interest but of the Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Baptism connects us to Christ's death and resurrection and here is where we are reborn to everlasting life.
I know Luecke knows this. I wonder why he or any other Lutheran would not begin and end with this. This is the elephant in the room.