The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Shall we dance?

I’ve always liked Lutherans. As a boy growing up in low country South Carolina, I experienced worship in the Common Service tradition five decades ago. A boyhood friend was a very active Lutheran, and he would see to it that I visited his church, Advent Lutheran in North Charleston, S.C. There I learned many Lutheran hymns. In college I heard the preaching and appreciated the wisdom of John R. Brockoff at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Charlotte, N.C.

When I retired from the ministry in the Presbyterian Church, I was pleased to receive invitations to conduct worship in three congregations near my home in Charleston, W.Va. It has been a heady experience for me to learn the Lutheran dance and to provide ministry to the inheritors of the tradition of Martin Luther’s reform. Here are some of the benefits to me:

Lutherans take worship seriously. Yes, there are informal moments and the style of each congregation differs. Still, at the core is the importance of word and table. Sadly, my own tradition has yet to achieve this balance. Few Presbyterian congregations offer communion every Sunday.

Lutherans sing their hearts out. On a recent Sunday at Cross of Grace Lutheran Church in Hurricane, W.Va., every stanza of every hymn was sung. The settings of the eucharistic service were offered beautifully without a choir being present. One older gentleman using supplemental oxygen joined heartily in the musical parts of the worship.

Lutherans are hospitable. As a Presbyterian leading worship under the provisions of the full-communion document between the ELCA and Reformed churches, the Formula of Agreement, I was received as a true minister of word and sacrament. No concerns were raised about my lack of Lutheran credentials. I became “Pastor Posey”—and loved it.

My hope is that Lutherans and Presbyterians give more than lip service to the Formula of Agreement. We need to experience each other’s worship and sing each other’s songs. Yes, we need to dance with one another. We might even wear each other’s vestments on occasion.

Further, let there be more churches like the Church of the Covenant in Grafton, W.Va., where ELCA Pastor Sarah Lee-Faulkner led a long established band of Presbyterians and Lutherans.

In a word: Let’s do more dancing. Together.

Check out this week's articles:

Synod does a self-study: Sierra Pacific's process reveals key concerns and bishop's 'tough job' (right).

Marriage matters: Love is not enough. Justice must be added for a union to thrive.

Spreading good health: Peanut butter makes a difference.

Who are you wearing?: Minnesota youth begin T-shirt ministry to spread the good news.

Also: Working makes it hard to work for a just marriage.

Also: Ministry teams.

Also: Accessibility awards given.

Discuss the synod self-study process:

Aug. 12-19: Join Marcia Johnson (right), associate director, ELCA Synodical Relations to discuss the synod self-study process.

Consider reading "Synod does a self-study" before joining in …

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This week on our staff blog:

Amber Leberman (right) gives 'props' to Roanoke College.

Julie Sevig blogs about the memories made at the family's cabin vacation.

Check out our blog ...

The July/August issue of The Little Lutheran has arrived:

The Little Lutheran Don't let them miss another issue.

The Little Lutheran helps children 6 and younger learn about God's love for them and the world in which they live. It teaches them about Jesus, their friend and savior.
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