Sunday, Pentecost 3
June 13, 2010
Vacation, Day 14
The Lord be with you
As many of you know, Kitty and I were raised in San Diego (though neither of us was born here). As such we have plenty of friends and family in San Diego. That means there is always more people to see, and things people want us to see, than we have time. Worship services are a clear example of this. My sister Claire and her husband are members of Christ Lutheran in La Mesa. My nephew Andy and his wife Laura are members of Grace Lutheran in downtown (where we worshiped last week). Diane (Kitty’s step-mom) is a member of St. Paul’s in Pacific Beach (I also went to sixth grade at their school). We were members of Holy Cross in Clairemont. To squeeze in as much as possible we went to the 8:00 AM service this morning at St. Paul’s. We then went to breakfast and the 10:00 AM service at Holy Cross. Rachel and the children went to Christ. What follows is my impressions of the services Kitty and I attended.
St. Paul’s Lutheran has a low-liturgical style. By that I mean that there is no epistle stand in the sanctuary, when the pastor preaches he does not use the pulpit (instead he stands near the front pew in the center of the sanctuary), they project elements of the worship service onto two large empty wall spaces that other churches would use for banners, announcements were made in the middle of the service, and really there was not a whole lot of the traditional liturgy used. Like Grace last week, only an epistle and Gospel lesson was read. The pastor does vest. The Lord’s Supper is offered the first and third Sundays of the month, so there was no Communion today. There was no children’s message. I noted that at the 9:30 service the children are dismissed to attend a children’s church. Though the traditional liturgy was absent, the rhythm of the traditional liturgy was clearly present. Psalm 40 was used for the confession of sins. An absolution was given. “We All Believe” (LSB 953) was used for the confession of faith. A sermon was given and prayers offered. Like Grace last week, they are doing a summer sermon series. Their series began this week and is on 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter of the Bible). One interesting thing is that ALL their bulletins are large print. The sermon, given by Pastor Jim Henkell, was based on the phrase “Love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:1). He clearly brought out the idea that love endures during hardship and never gives up, yet in this we fail. Our love is not perfect love. Christ, though, does not fail. Christ does not give up on us. So we trust in him, knowing his love will not let us down. The music was good, but I was surprised that the singing of the congregation was not stronger. This is especially so as the stone floors made the acoustics in the sanctuary excellent.
We left St Paul’s and arrived at Holy Cross just at 9:00, expecting to slip into the worship service already just begun. However, through the summer, they are having breakfast at 9:00 and worship at 10:00 on the second Sunday of the month. So I got my first cup of coffee for the day and we ate an enjoyable breakfast which featured several different quiches. Dave Lindsey, an old friend of ours, and his two boys were there. Around 9:30 one of the Deacons gave a talk about some elements of the traditional liturgy. Part of the talk reminded the people present that they would be reintroducing a processional at the beginning of the worship service today. They were reminded that when this happens it is appropriate and traditional for the congregation to turn and face the cross as it is brought into the sanctuary and up to the altar area. Instead of having a regularly called pastor, Holy Cross is served by a team of commissioned Deacons. Deacons wear their stole differently from regular Pastors. It crosses from the right hand shoulder to the left hip or waist, and is fastened there, looking something like a sash. At Holy Cross these men serve in a part-time capacity. When their last Pastor left the congregation determined that they could not afford the salary of a full-time ordained minister of the word and so went with deacons instead. The liturgy was the most traditional Missouri Synod liturgy of the three services we have been to. We used the first setting of the Divine Service (LSB page 151). They also used three lessons (Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel). The appointed Introit was used, and so on. There was no children’s message. The only real departure from the normal liturgy was when a woman named Karen gave a testimony. She did a fine job as she related how Christ has made a difference in her life. Like Grace and St. Paul’s, Holy Cross is having a summer sermon series. Theirs is based on the seven churches of Revelation. Today’s message was based on the letter to the Church at Thyatira and is (I think) the third in the series. The message was about staying the course, holding onto the Gospel and not being drawn away by whatever. In the Church, in its liturgy, in its doctrine, in Christ Jesus, we find what we need to remain faithful. There was a delightful song sung during the offering. The pace of the liturgy was notably slower than what I’m used to. All in all, a good worship experience and one that any LC-MS member would immediately recognize and be able to participate in.
Dave invited us to come over at 4:00, and we did. Dawn, Dave’s wife, and Tim Paul, another old friend were there. We ate dinner and visited until around 8:30. We have a very pleasant evening. Of course we have to get on the road tomorrow morning so we had to head back. But both Kitty and I were glad to see these old friends.
No pictures today.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert