An Overtime Pick
One of the longest running solo Lutheran podcasts is Dan Engle’s Time Out. For those who haven’t heard it, a typical episode of Time Out consists of the reading of a Biblical text, a hymn, and a reading of the Kretzmann commentary on the text.
This reading for episode is Judges 14 and the hymn is “Our Father, Who from Heaven Above.”
As an added bonus, this episode contains an “Overtime” segment. In the segment, at ~17:55, Dan describes his experience attending a German language service at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Calgary, AB. The text is reprinted below and makes this a can’t miss episode.
From Necessary Roughness:
I was privileged to spend the previous two weeks in Calgary, AB. The Sunday between, I visited St. Matthew Lutheran Church. The congregation has services in two languages, German and English, and the Pastor, Markus Zeuch, has even more: I heard him tell someone next to me at the communion rail in Portuguese, “the body of Christ, given for you.”
Despite not knowing much German, I was still able to follow along in the German service. I turned to the back of the black hymnal and found the order of service. The invocation, the general confession of sins — with the pastor asking the congregation whether they believed Christ had forgiven them, and the whole congregation answers, “Ja!” — the alleluias, the Agnus Dei, the Nunc Dimittis all were in the Gottesdienst, the Divine Service. I was doing quite well, except for the sermon and the Vaterunser, which the liturgy had expected everyone to have memorized. Many pieces of the German order of worship even have the same melody as Lutheran Service Book Divine Service 3.
Our planet, our continent, our country, our state, our city, and even our neighborhoods have multiple, disparate cultures. Despite all this, we are united in the Common Service, the Divine Service, the Mass, whatever you call it. What some ridicule as boring or old provides a common tie between people of different countries and languages. Did the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 tell those Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews, and North Africans different things in all those languages or the same thing? And yet it is hard to find an LCMS circuit whose churches all confess the same thing in worship.
The churches of the Augsburg Confession in 1580 could state, “Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added to teach the people.” Why would they say such a thing? To assure the emperor, Charles V, and the Roman Catholic church that the Lutherans had not strayed from the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
The Divine Service — the Common Service — is not a law prescribed so that sin may increase. It is a gift, a tool that ensures that no matter the language or culture, we are making every effort to remain true to the Word. Whether your church’s total assets are a Bible, a hymnal, a chalice, and a paten, or whether your financial assets would make Thrivent Financial for Lutherans blush, the Divine Service unites us in a common confession of Christ crucified for sinners. If we are to heal the different theologies among us, we must pursue the universal theology, the one where we “same say” on the Lord’s Day.