Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fellow Travelers

I'm about to get all Garrison Keillor here.

I get a charge out of Lutherans.

At church last night (Maundy Thursday) Pastor Kay and I set up two stations for foot and hand washing. Hand washing had been introduced last year as an alternative practice for those too modest to display their tootsies, and it was a hit. This year my station (the feet) had exactly one customer, whereas the line for the hands was quite long. Several times, folks who didn't want to wait came over to me and asked ME to wash their hands. Well, that does it. We've decided to bag foot washing altogether next year.

It's ironic, because this tradition is all about humility (Christ washing the disciples' feet), and if Lutherans are anything, it's humble. From their propensity for sitting in the back pews, to their reluctance to toot their own horns in general, you'll find most Lutherans fading into the woodwork when folks of other denominations take center stage. For many years, the evangelism committee at Christ's Church had an annual budget of about $200, and rarely spent it. Why badger people to come visit our house of worship? If they really want to find us, they can look us up themselves! We won't turn them away!

In this respect, the Seyfrieds make lousy Lutherans. Almost all of us have gravitated toward "look at me!" professions--acting, music, writing. PR is a specialty of our family. I like to think our egos are not too outsized, but we sure do have healthy self images. The members of our congregation have embraced our "otherness" and seem fond of our bunch (though I'm sure they shake their heads from time to time at our very public antics). We are the quintessential front pew sitters, and never turn down an opportunity to stand up and speak up, both in and out of church.

Misfits though we may be, the Lutheran church really means a lot to us. The belief in the sufficiency of God’s grace, grace overflowing into every aspect of our lives, that we don’t have to do a thing to “earn,” has a powerful appeal to Steve and me. Lutheranism has been called "Catholicism without the guilt." I will not take potshots at Catholics (I was one for decades); I will merely say that I find the idea of Heaven as a gift already given, quite wonderful.

Is this faith perfect? Of course not. We sing too many verses of the hymns (for Catholics, two verses meant it was Christmas or Easter), and we stay until the very end of the service (as a Catholic, my post-communion motto was “receive and leave.”)
Martin himself

Every believing family makes a choice—how do we want to raise our children? I don’t think there are any wrong answers: God loves us all, whatever path we travel to Him. We Seyfrieds cast our lot with our shy, retiring, wonderful Lutheran friends.

Who do coffee hours and soup suppers up right.

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