Monday, July 05, 2004

133 Lutheran Chautauqua

The Lutherans have two weeks at Lakeside, a summer Chautauqua community owned by the Methodists where we have a summer cottage. This year is their 83rd, and I believe at one time at least one group of Lutherans had services there in German. The Pastor of the week is Rev. Henry J. Langknecht, Professor of Homiletics & Christian Communication at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. I rarely attend services at Hoover Auditorium in the summer, having been burned by too many liberal preachers who had us praying to "mother-father God" and mouthing all sorts of creedal blather about environmentalism, AIDS, and women's rights during the service. Instead, we attend the informal service on the lakefront, where camp songs and praise choruses make sense, considering the metal chairs, strong winds off the lake, and people wearing athletic shoes and shorts.

However, I thought, it being Lutheran week, maybe I'd hear some good music and catch a gospel centered sermon. There was a nice choir from Zion Lutheran Church in Sandusky and we did sing "This is my Father's World" and say the Apostles' Creed. (Do any Lutherans have liturgy anymore?) The sermon had a political theme, it being July 4, so I don't begrudge Rev. Langknecht that opportunity to bring in civil and women's rights into his theme of the week, "There is Nothing 'Self-Evident' About 'These Truths are. . .'" He even closed with something about Jesus and our sins--don't recall the exact wording, but it was a strong nod to why Christians even gather on Sunday.

Pastor Ted Stellhorn of Marblehead was the worship leader. He had a closing prayer that really left me with something to think about all week. If I'm not mistaken, I think he asked God for something like "fair wages" or "equitable wages" for workers--I don't think he said "living wage." I was so startled, I missed the rest of the prayer. I got to wondering about fair wages for pastors, for librarians, for architects. What would be fair? Should pastors make more than their secretaries? More than surgeons? What about the organist? What is fair wages for a church organist? Or the janitor? Like I say, gave me something to think about, but mostly I'm thinking it definitely didn't belong in a worship prayer.

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