Peace Be With You

As a practicing Christian, my family is a member of a congregation that belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Over the years, I have made some humorous observations that — if you’re a Lutheran — you’ll understand.

Color-coordinating clothes with the season

If your church wardrobe includes white for Christmas, green for Epiphany, purple for lent, red for Pentecost Sunday, or blue during advent, you might be a Lutheran. I think it would be cool if the younger generation colored their hair accordingly.

Being prompt

If you have never been to a worship service that actually started on time, you might be a Lutheran. The same fantastical ignorance of the time seems to also apply to council meetings, caroling to the shut-ins, weddings, and even funerals.

The only reason any parishioner has to arrive ahead of time is to stake claim to “their” pew. And heaven forbid if a C and E sits in your pew. I can’t stand it when that happens.

Peace Be With You

If you spend more time passing the peace than you spend in fellowship after the service, you might be a Lutheran. Exchanging the peace has evolved from a 5- to 10-second pair of handshakes with your pew neighbors into a 5- to 10-minute “working of the nave” that involves multiple side conversations and the shaking every single person’s hand in attendance. You have to do it. Sitting down just makes you look rude. But I always thought that was why we had coffee and sweets after the worship service?

The worst problem is that after shaking dozens of hands that have been coughed and sneezed into all morning, you get a piece of bread placed in your now germ-laden hand for communion. I know I’ve seen people tuck the bread between their palm and pinkie, sliding it inconspicuously into their pocket on their way back to their pew.

Singing

If you sing more liturgy than you speak, you might be a Lutheran. Why chant or speak anything when it can be drawn out in a mournful-sounding hymn? And when you sing a hymn, you sing every… last… stanza. And at least one of the three hymns is one that you have never heard. So when a completely unfamiliar melody begins you just stare at the hymnal.

Liturgy

If you still confess to being “in bondage to sin” and affirm the Christ “descended into Hell,” you might be a green hymnal throw-back. I think there should be a green hymnal throw-back the week that the NFL wears their throw-back uniforms.

The Sacraments

If you have taken communion in more than a dozen different formats, you might be a Lutheran. Sometimes, we kneel and each table is blessed. Sometimes we have the “assembly line” with a bulk blessing at the conclusion. Eliminating a hymn or two (or at least reducing the number of verses) would be a good idea when the C and E’s are in attendance. The best part of the service may be that we still drink actual wine with the meal. Baptisms have been moved to the end of the service. This way parishioners can sneak out early for coffee.

Fellowship and Bad Coffee

If each Sunday at church ends with drinking enough coffee to float a battleship in your after-service fellowship, you might be a Lutheran. Lutherans love bad coffee made in ginormous percolators. Oh, and the sugary snacks. They are lovely, aren’t they. And have you noticed the cliques that form during fellowships. There’s a table of older gentlemen, and a separate table for the wives. Those of us under 50 wander around like Moses in the desert fro 40 minutes.

Then we talk the rest of the day how we need to look for another place to worship only to return the following Sunday.

Share with a Lutheran you know.

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