26 June 2005

The Work of the Spirit and How it Concerns Lutherans

Today I sat in my pew at my home church again (What-what, Saint Peter!) and whilst I admired the lovely new stained glass windows a passage of scripture that had recently become mysteriously familiar seemed to float through them on the sunbeams. Get your bibles out, it's Matthew 10:24-33. Focus on verse 27:

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops!

Right then I couldn't go a minute longer without sharing my experiences from the past two weeks. I had not been very vocal about my plans with many members of the church yet, so after the service I asked my father (who I thought led Sunday morning bible study) for a couple minutes to speak about the amazing things the Lord has done. He said, "The pastor leads the bible study and is not back from a trip yet and there's no one to do it; you can talk for an hour!"

Suddenly everyone started asking me, "Anne, are you going to lead bible study?" As the room filled I prayed to the Holy Spirit for words. Anyone who knows me has heard me trip over my words and say things that sound awkward. Funny, but awkward. This was not the schtick I was going for. I've been known in the classroom to not always speak with confidence, but don't let that factoid make its way onto a resume. I feared that without a prepared outline, my message would ramble all over the place but no, the Lord used the time to communicate to the people what he is doing in the lives of missionaries going all over the world and also what I will be doing specifically in Taiwan! And lo! The people responded with all types of questions and support and brother Harold stood up and started talking about his plans to reformat how our church supports missions...Shoot, the only thing missing was the tent and the snakes!

Course, and this is changing the subject a little, Lutherans don't do those things. When Lutherans are excited about something the Lord is doing, they stand around and talk. Coffee is the beverage of choice for talk. Under normal circumstances, Lutherans get around to parting ways through several stages of departure. It usually takes a couple of Lutherans an average of five or six reiterations of a parting message (i.e., Got to be getting on home now; Sally's probably waiting for me; It's been good talking to you, etc.) to actually bid a final farewell. And don't get me started on the body language involved. Anyway, when we're excited about things spiritual, we tack on a couple more stages of departure. Oh, how badly we want to be in community with one another! To be neck deep in the concerns of our brothers and sisters! But we wait until the threshold of goodbye, content always to blame our German heritage for our hesitancy to welcome one another at the front door.

Hey, I digress. And Prairie Home Companion is on. Give Glory to God.