Why Does Pastor Stewart Go For a “Wander” When He Reads The Gospel These Days???
As some of you may have noticed.. of late.. I have taken up the practice of walking out into the middle of the congregation to read the Gospel Lesson on Sunday mornings. This while ACTUALLY a new thing (for me) is something I have always wanted to make the normal practice. (For those with good memories… I am told Pastor Jerry did this all the time!?!)
An explanation of “why” this is done probably needs to begin with touching base with the least well understood word for our church name (national church name) – ELCIC.. EVANGELICAL Lutheran Church in Canada. Now for sure we totally know what “Lutheran” is about… same for “church”… and mostly for “Canada”!?! “EVANGELICAL”.. however… well that’s not a word the average person uses much. (And when we do, it is – most often - to refer to maybe one of those “hand-waving” type churches … NOT us staid Lutherans.)
So why is it in our name??? Well let’s start with the actual definition of the word. Originally, it comes to us from the Greek – evangelikos – which means in its simplest form Gospel or Good News. And in fact, Luther used it to refer to anyone who held & held on to the doctrine of Grace Alone. Hence coming from those roots it IS pretty much the definition of who WE are!!!! (It is only lately that it became a tag line for more conservative/literal/enthusiastic churches).
For us though the idea that we (as Lutherans) are first and foremost people of the Gospel.. people of the Good News of grace.. a church whose primary goal is taking that Gospel to the people… the name really is then the centre of who we are. (And thus a name we are sort of clinging to!). And just so.. also something that we should be living into.. something our worship maybe even models.
And now we are finally back where we started. The idea that during the Gospel Acclamation the reader/preacher should walk out into the midst of the congregation is simply another way of modelling what it means to have the Good News at the centre of our worship.. another way of modelling how we take the Good News TO the people!! It is about highlighting the moment that the Gospel is read.
So.. once again let me assure you that there really are reasons for the various things we do on Sunday morning in worship.. reasons that really do reflect who we are and who we are to be. Every now and then I will use this article to hold one of these up for us to think about. If YOU have any wonderings about the “why” of what we do, don’t hesitate to ask. I guarantee that if you are wondering there are other wondering with you. And I would be happy to explain!!!!!
- Pastor Stewart - June 13/19