We found out the answer is a resounding no when yesterday we attended St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Lexington (part of the ELCA). Pastor Pat Riddle challenged us to hear that one of our primary tasks as Christians is to make disciples. I have often commented that ‘discipleship’ is something I have felt is lost even in my own preaching, and in church discussions seems to get lost among the desire to get people in through the door and on the seats. I told Pat that he was welcome to come and preach this sermon at any of my three churches. I think what also stuck out to me was the way he preached. In many ways, it was very American. Most British preaching I have seen, in particular in the more liturgical traditions, has been more reserved than Pat’s. Even in the pulpit (which was a fairly large area), he walked around, made great hand motions, and used his voice to inflect on the points he wanted to make. I had hoped he put his sermons on the web, but I don’t see them. I would like to hear it again.
Of course it was also an intersting experience sitting with my family. We went to church with April’s family, but it is a rare occurence that I get to sit with April and Savannah. Savannah is still trying to recover from jetlag and is trying to adjust to the overwhelming schedule we have made. We worried that she might try to walk up to the altar area, as she has free reign at Wilpshire and will often make her way up there. I think she was simply too tired. The Lutheran liturgy is beautiful, and it is hard to put a finger on how it is different than other traditionally liturgical churches, but it seems to work. I had forgotten that Americans don’t sing 5 hymns (Methodists included), but many points in the liturgy were sung. Not a doleful chant, but a more lively refrain. I need to find my Lutheran Book of Worship while over here.
I also mention this church because this is the church where April grew up and where we were married 8 years ago.