This is the first Sunday in January in the year 2014. It's 5:28 in the evening. The weather is drizzly, the current temperature is 56 degrees, but we expect a low of 18 degrees with a wintry mix.
I was so excited about starting new member classes tonight, I wanted to get a new binder, with fresh new paper and a pack of my favorite pens. I resisted, however, because I didn't want to look like a total nerd teacher's pet on the first day. I'm sure without even trying the finer points of my personality will be revealed. (I did download the most used version of the Bible for this congregation for iPad, and I carried along my Small Catechism.) Fortunately Pastor D had some nice little packets made for us that can be added to as we go along.
Although everyone in attendance, except Pastor D, was female, the group is still diverse and interesting. We have a college student, a retiree and two mid life school teachers. I think the discussions are going to be brilliant once we get to know each other and get comfortable.
Tonight we discussed the history of the Lutheran Church. If, at any point in school you studied the Protestant Reformation, you studied the history of the Lutheran Church. Seems this guy, Martin Luther, in order to avoid being a lawyer undertook becoming a monk. After a couple of years, he may have been doubting his decisions, but he stuck with it and gave it his whole self. That's when he discovered something was seriously wrong with the Roman Catholic Church. So called Holy Men were taking advantage of the very people they were charged to serve in some most grievous ways. Luther said, hey guys, this just isn't right lets talked about it. This prompted him to post a list of the 95 things he wanted to discuss, otherwise know as the 95 Thesis. Well, the Church, as it often does, couldn't abide anybody with different ideas than their own, and they told Luther he was not welcome anymore. This started the most sweeping revolution in religious history since the Coming of Christ called the Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote some general guidelines for the Church, some folks adopted them, and lo and behold, the Lutheran Church as we know it happened.
This all happened in the 1500's, just when the world was waking up from many years of darkness. Skip ahead about 300 years to the Industrial Revolution and the influx of Eastern Europeans to the United States. A group of Germans and Saxons settled in the midwest bringing their religion with them. Several congregations got together and formed what is now known as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. And it is in this structure, and a member church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, that I find myself. ( I love history!)
So?, you say, What are these people all about?
Well the Lutheran Church's beliefs can be explained through six parts: The Ten Commandments, The Apostles Creed, The Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession and the Sacrament of the Alter. These six parts are encompassed in the three Principles:Word Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone.
This church has four objectives in their Mission: Reach, Connect, Equip and Send. The Vision of GSLC is to be a place where anybody (ANYBODY) can come in to learn Jesus without being judged or condemned by the church.
So why am I attracted to this Lutheranism? Because, I can easily read about, study and understand the Three Principles of the Church, and I can understand the way to worship through the six parts of the the religion. I get it. I'm not saying I'm anywhere near practicing, these things are not ingrained into my daily actions or thoughts, but it's something I can work with without being confused by outside issues that seem to cloud other religions for me.
And why am I attracted to Good Shepherd? Because this Church has a clearly defined Vision and Mission based on the teachings of Jesus.The Church supports and is active in missions in our community such as a local women's mission, supporting a foster mother, the Firehouse Shelter and other practical things that support all of us. And the Pastor vehemently supports making this Church a place where anybody can come to worship Jesus.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I have paraphrased and added my spin to the history of Martin Luther and the beliefs of the Lutheran Church. For more information go to: