25 years ago, Pastor Sattler began his tenure as leader (behind Christ, of course) of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. I’m grateful for his service. One moment that stands out was long ago when my Marta was having a faith crisis. She was crying and needed Pastor to help her. I interrupted his class to ask his help. He said it had to wait until the end of the study. I didn’t leave and a minute later he was out in the parking lot counseling and comforting her. Thank you, Pastor. Again.
Saturday was a best of days. Hazel met her Lord through the sacrament of baptism. Not only was she joined in communion with The Living God but also with the Body of Christ known as the Church. How do I know this? Because we announced it by saying:
“We welcome you into the the Lord’s family. We receive you as a fellow member of the Body of Christ, child of the same heavenly Father, and worker with us in the Kingdom of God.”
We need to take our vow seriously when we say this to Hazel or to anyone. Others said it for me and if you have been baptized in a Lutheran church it has been promised to you by still others as well as a mighty cloud of witnesses (you’re just going to have to look that up yourself). What better time than forever to live by your word? Drop your pretense, address your issue, then come join the celebration.
The hymns we sang were these…
“See This wonder in the Making” (baptism)
“God Loved the World So That He Gave” (sermon)
“Thy Word” (offering)
“Just as I am, Without One Plea” (communion)
“Beautiful Savior” (recessional)
… all played on piano by Paul. Thank you, Paul.
Pastor preached on Lutheran doctrine and how the Lutheran Church differs from all other denominations. I’ll keep it simple because that’s how we roll. The most apparent difference is the Lutheran Church believes that every word of the Old Testament and New Testament is directly from God. Scripture is ‘God breathed’, the human authors of the Bible inspired and directed by The Holy Ghost. Other denominations either add to Scripture or means of grace with other sources such as The Apocrypha, works, and tradition or some suggest the Bible contains the Word of God but not all words in the Bible are God’s Word.
This is not to say that followers of other denominations aren’t saved but that in some cases their denominations run the risk of not teaching what Lutherans consider imperative teachings of the Bible. One aspect would be whether Communion involves the physical presence of Jesus as Lutherans believe or other groups who suggest we are to remember Jesus as we take the body and blood but He is not present. Some Protestant churches decide upon themselves to determine what verses in the Bible are holy and which aren’t. Once Scripture becomes a buffet-style belief system then only trouble can ensue.
Other churches might add extra-Scriptural readings to their liturgy, or declare works to be a part of the means of grace and so on. These are less concerning as long as ‘Jesus as Savior’ is the main lesson preached. Added readings or beliefs could serve to confuse but belief in Jesus as Savior and a Triune God is enough to carry you through the eye of the needle.
My editor, Susan, suggests this is enough.
All in all, I had my sins forgotten by God so one day I’ll be allowed to live in His presence. I broke bread and body, drank wine and blood and held my wife’s hand before my Savior. We sang hymns declaring His goodness and celebrated His grace upon us. He gave me His blessing and all was right with His creation, so yeah, it was a good service.