Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Moon Worship and Old Ladies' Tears

I've taken my family to our neighborhood Lutheran church (Missouri Synod) on two recent Sundays. Each visit has its own little story.

On our first visit we sat in the back pew just in front of the glass-plated cry room. There is a good deal of unannounced standing and sitting in the liturgy, but when the congregation popped to their feet, we were able to snatch and grab and get our children up with only a slight delay. My very beautiful wife, who looks her most beautiful on the Lord's Day, had charge of our youngest son who is a wiggler-of-the-pew. During one of these standing drills a mother in the cry room somehow managed to get my wife's attention (through some kind of telepathic female-communications link), contorted her face, and repeatedly thrusted her finger in the direction of that part of my wife poetically known as "the booty". My life-long Presbyterian bride, perhaps in a moment of Scottish rebellion, was mooning the cry room! I thought I had broken her of this habit during our past visits to Baptist churches, but... She insists that one of the children were to blame, but I have my doubts.

The second visit resulted in an altogether different, and sweet, story. We took our place in the back pew. Since Lutherans practice closed communion, during that part of the liturgy we sit and try to follow-along in the Lutheran hymnal while everyone else goes to the alter by rows. I was a little surprised that the elderly lady next to Kristin did not go forward when it was time, and then I noticed her leg braces. A moment later I looked up from the hymnal to see her standing, leaning on the pew in front of us. And there beside her was the pastor, in full vestments, with the most compassionate look on his face holding out to her the bread and the wine. He looked straight into her eyes and boldly announced the beautiful words of the Lutheran communion. I wish I could remember exactly what he said, but it obviously deeply touched this elderly lady for when she sat down next to us she was weeping tears of worship and gratitude! And so were we.


The BadgerMum said...

Take, eat; this is the true body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, given into death for your sins.

Take, drink; this is the true blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shed for the forgiveness of your sins.

The body and blood of our Lord strengthen and preserve you steadfast in the true faith to life everlasting. Go in peace.
I love the Lutheran liturgy. I'm pretty sure we'd've ended up there if they practiced covenant communion.

BTW, the above quote comes from the Lutheran Worship - the words are the same in Divine Service I, and Divine Service II first and second settings. We have two of the books which we use for evening prayers at home most evenings.

Tim said...

Thanks Kelly for posting that part of the liturgy.

I think it was the bold way that the pastor said (almost shouted) "strengthen and preserve you" that so touched this elderly lady.