So I wasn't preaching this Reformation, which means that I had a different kind of meditation time over the weekend, and some time on Saturday afternoon for wandering around the neighborhoods. We were over in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon, and ran into an old friend from my church. I hadn't seen her for several years, and one of the first questions she asked was, "Are you still Lutheran?"
Not the first thing I would think of asking, but it WAS the day before Reformation Sunday, as well as TWO days before Halloween. "Are you still Lutheran?" I didn't think to ask her the same question; I kind of assumed by her question that her answer would have been 'no,' and that would have been so awkward, both my husband and I being in church work and all.
"Are you still Lutheran?"
Our theme for Reformation Sunday was "Be Still and Know That I Am God." I believe that in all of my years of celebrating Reformation Sunday, this is the first time "Be Still" has been our chosen theme. We had a lot of wonderful music with the "Be Still" theme, including a sermon that included a full minute of silence. And I will say that, in some ways, the theme did not seem traditionally Lutheran. We Lutherans are not known for our love for silent meditation; we have not traditionally been proponents of silent prayer or lectio divina. We are people of the Word. Some of our preachers might even be called Word-y. And although "Be Still and Know" is from Psalm 46 (from which Luther's famous hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" takes its inspiration), it's about the only verse you can can't find reflected somewhere in the hymn.
"Are you still Lutheran?"
All Fall, our over-arching theme has been "Shining", a holistic stewardship emphasis for fall. Every week, there has been a new glittery word hanging over the pulpit. "Family." "Giving." "Community." "World." This week the glittery word was "Faith." During my minute of silence, I noticed the shiny word "Faith" hanging there, and I thought about what it meant that Paul calls us "stewards of the mysteries of God." And I also remembered hearing somewhere that "Be Still" can also mean "Cease Striving."
"Cease Striving and Know I Am God."
This doesn't seem like such a bad reformation day theme, after all, especially if freedom, grace, and mercy are your themes.
Be Still. Cease Striving. Stop talking and listen. Stop trying to defend yourself and let God defend you. Stop trying to improve yourself, and let God make you holy. Stop trying to save yourself and let God save you.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Are you still Lutheran? Yes, indeed.