A: WHAT?! CHANGE?! Lutherans don’t change!
I find it strange that this joke is so frequently shared within our Lutheran communities. In so many ways, it seems to be very true. Throughout the United States, and I’m sure beyond our borders, we claim this way of being for ourselves. And, when healthy change does happen, we look back and say, "Wow! Lutherans can, indeed, change! Who would’ve thunk it?"
͟ When and how did this happen to us? I really don’t know. And, truthfully, to me it makes no sense at all.
500 years ago this month, The Reverend Martin Luther instigated some of the most tumultuous and magnificent change the world has ever seen. The Church had grown drunk with power, had fallen away from the grace of Jesus Christ, and had been (among other things) charging people for their own salvation and for the salvation of their loved ones. Father Luther, inspired by the Holy Spirit, set out to change this for the better.
Luther’s deep love for the Church caused him to want to change it. He didn’t want to form a new church, he simply wanted to reform –to change –the Church as it was.
Seriously, friends: Our entire denomination was (accidentally) founded on the principle of change! Why do we find it so hard to live into this beautiful history? It should be in our DNA!
We at Macksburg Lutheran could easily be lumped into this un-changeable and unmovable stereotype. We are a smaller church and we have been here for 124 years. Churches like ours often get a bad rap for being stuck in our ways. Thanks be to God that we don’t live into this stereotype! I’ve been genuinely blessed and grateful to witness a spirit of openness to an unknown future here at Macksburg over the course of the last three years. We have been willing to change little things and larger things, with the hope of growing our own faith and with the hope of sharing it with the wider community.
While lots of little things have changed in recent years, two rather visible changes have happened on Sunday mornings: First, we implemented a new Liturgy last year –the Heartland Liturgy. Second, we started an experiment with Inter-generational Sunday School this Fall.
For me, the most significant part of both these changes is NOT that when introduced they were overall fairly well received. Rather, we as a community decided to take a calculated risk by trying something new!
While it seems clear to me that the implementation of the Heartland Liturgy was and is successful, the success of Inter-generational Sunday School (at least in its current form) is still to be determined. This experiment may end up growing our faith and blessing the wider community, or it may end up failing and falling flat on its face. We don’t yet know. But, I am simply thrilled that we are open to where the Holy Spirit might be leading us. Because, if we are not trying new things, we really aren’t living into our heritage–or into our future. Let’s keep up this great work: trying new things, risking failure, and trusting that God is working through it all!
Thank you for your part in making Macksburg Lutheran Church an amazing community. You, yourself, are amazing, too.