Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is this a waste of time?

I don't know much about the above congregations other than these facts: 1) They are Lutheran, 2) They are in Africa, 3) They speak French.

After one Sunday service in my own congregation (perhaps a year ago or more), I announced that the offerings placed into our mission box would be used to send funds to purchase hymnals for Africa.  A parishioner (who is no longer a member of our congregation) loudly fussed and fumed and declared to anyone who would listen that this was "a waste of time."

She never did clarify what she meant by that.

But to the above three facts, I can also add this: it is never a waste of time (or money) to support our brothers and sisters around the world.  Our Lord did charge us to make disciples of all nations, after all.  And while Christianity is on the decline in the United States and in the west in general - where entertainment is the new religion - the genuine faith is growing in Africa, where suffering and the cross are truly a mark of the church.  By way of example, there are more Lutherans in Madagascar than in North America.

These videos also shatter the myth that the traditional liturgy and hymns are not "missional."  Of course, the word "missional" is a hackneyed overused "hipster" word often employed by those who wish to drive a wedge between Lutheran doctrine and Lutheran practice - often among the professional bureaucratic and political class within North American Lutheranism.  Maybe a better way of thinking of traditional Lutheran worship as it relates to the mission field is that it reflects faith - faith in something bigger and more profound than the shallow American Idol of our own entertainment.  There is no "me-ology" in the ancient hymnody of the church and in the reverent worship that attends genuine belief in a transcendent God who nevertheless deigns to join us (and rescue us) incarnate in our fallen word.

These African saints get it.  I expect their grandchildren will be trying to evangelize our increasingly-dark continent the way the heroic Kenyan Archbishop Walter Obare brought the biblical faith back to Sweden where faithful Lutherans had been held hostage by a diabolical bureaucracy that can only be described as antichrist.

And notice the transcultural nature of traditional Lutheran hymnody and worship.  Even in a simple structure in which to worship, God is there in Word and Sacrament - and He is also adored by people who truly believe in the gifts given by the Lord.  They are obviously not looking for entertainment.

No, indeed, this is no waste of time!  Let us pray for our brethren and financially support them as we are able!  This should not only be our obligation and duty, but our privilege and our joy.


Cheryl said...

Here's another one you might be interested in:

rogue evolent said...

I'm not much of an emotional guy ('cept when I'm contemplating punching people in the noses at the "district" (sic) office) but great big tears of joy were streaming down my face as I heard my African Brothers and Sisters singing The Faith of our Lord Christ Jesus!
Thank you for posting these Fr. Larry.

Phillip said...

Thanks for posting the videos, pastor. This was my second trip to Congo teaching the French LSB to our brothers and sisters there, and I can attest to the facts that they were indeed Lutheran before we got there, that they are a growing church body, and that they eagerly desire hymnals, Bibles, catechisms, and Good News magazine. As Pastor Poungui, the founding pastor of this church body who went to a Reformed seminary in the 70's but then discovered the Book of Concord and decided to start a Lutheran church, says: "La Doctrine!" :)

I also worked with Haitians and Malagaches (Madagascar) last month at a similar seminar in Montréal. Many French-speaking Lutherans want to grow in their Lutheran faith and piety and I am very pleased that Lutheran Church-Canada, Lutheran Heritage Foundation, and Lutherans in Africa are all helping out in these efforts.

If any of your readers wish to contribute, they may do so by going to the Lutherans in Africa website or by contacting me.

Again, thanks for posting this!

In Christ,

Phillip Magness, Cantor
Bethany Lutheran Church and School

Paul said...

Should be viewed at circuit meeting and district conferences far and wide. Glorie a Dieu!

Father Hollywood said...

Merci, y'all!

Que la grâce du Seigneur Jésus-Christ, l'amour de Dieu, et la communication du Saint-Esprit, soient avec vous tous!