Grace is not your average Lutheran church

There is a great spirit alive in the world today, and it is seemingly beginning to emanate from the very center of our fair city. In this issue of the Gem, I have asked for a meeting with the new minister in town. What I encountered is no less than a brilliant gem with many facets, right here in the Montrose. A wonderful repartee’ ensued, and here it is! READ ON AVID READER!

You have made a very powerful statement from the pulpit of Grace Lutheran, here in Houston, Texas. I commend you on your tenacity and powerful strength of faith in this wonderful action. I also would like to commend the congregation of Grace Lutheran, for their wisdom and guidance in calling you to serve as their minister. In the words of the great Auntie Mame “Open a new window, open a new Door, Travel a new Highway, that’s never been tried before!” From Deutschland to the United States….Let us begin. Have a cup of coffee, we’ll chat and discuss….here are the topics:

From Martin Luther to Henry the VIII, to the settling of the colonies, to the revolution that created these United States of America, it all began with a certain delineation of Church and State. Do you feel we are, perhaps, at the same type of crossroads now? I’m not speaking of a revolution, per say, but a beginning of understanding and acceptance, both from within and without our societal and religious norms.
Martin Luther pretty much established the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation that has affected the entire World, to this very day. With the nailing of his “95 Theses” to the Castle Church Door on what now has become Martin Luther Day (October 31, 1546), challenging the omnipotence of the Catholic Church of the time. From this very act, came a revolution of freedom, thought and will that we still try to adhere to today. How do you feel this possibly impacts Grace Lutheran and Yourself here, in this day and time?

Martin Luther, on or about March 9, 1522, in his Invocative Sermons, asked the question:
“Do you know what the devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the Gospel?” There is more dear reader; I recommend you seek it out!
These sermons dealt with issues of Love, Patience, Charity and Freedom, how does the Lutheran Church, and Yourself, feel this is vital in today’s world?

From the Lutheran German Mass, 1526
Changes in the Eucharist Itself, Martin Luther
“For I don’t want to deny, in any way, that God’s power is able to make a body be simultaneously in many places, even in a corporeal and circumscribed manner. For who wants to prove that God is unable to do that? Who has seen the limits of His Power?”
Martin Luther, leading into the Book of Concord and the Formula of Concord, which also pull together the three creeds of the Christian Faith, the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. How do these statements, and the creeds themselves, apply and have relevance in today’s chaotic world? As we come to the Lords Table, for the sacrament of communion, aren’t we all coming and committing our souls and spirits together, as one people, by His Will and Grace?

From the fugues and chorales of J.S. Bach and the various composers of the church, there is a great Lutheran Hymn of Faith, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. In our world, we seem to build fortresses around ourselves. Isn’t it about time we, as a world, break down those individual walls and trust in God’s Fortress, and begin communicating on a free and open level? “Love, Patience, Charity, Freedom”

As a community, we have been “thumped” many times from pulpits around the world.
There is a wonderful scripture, that kind of sums it all up for me, if I may take the liberty of quoting it,
“For God so loved the World, that He gave His only Son. That whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life!” This is a basic tenant of the Lutheran/Christian Faith. There have been questions raised, in various parts of the world, is this scripture and the belief in it, unconditional, or is it interlaced with certain conditions?

Coming forward to 1772, the undercurrent of the times were led by certain principles and philosophies, among them were certain methodologies pertaining to basic rights and freedoms. From a paper submitted by Samuel Adams, on November 20 of 1772, “The Natural Rights of the Colonists As Men”, and I quote:
“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first a right to life, second, to liberty, third, to property, together with the right to support and defend them in the best way they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the law of nature.”
Do you see the role that Martin Luther and the Lutheran church have played in the actual founding of the United States of America? The free thinking and freedom of will, so prevalent in Martin Luther’s writings and life, have changed and created nations and even have a great validity today!

In the traditions of Native American Culture (shamanistic), as well as the Essenes, Coptic Christians, and jumping ahead to the Miracle of Lourdes, is it possible that we all that we all have healing and curative powers within ourselves?
The precepts laid down by Martin Luther even carry forward to this day. As an example, free thought, free will – MCC Church (Rev. Troy Perry) and the work they have done within our community. The body has many parts, each one essential to the other. One body, many parts! How do you see this in the world today?

In the City of Houston, there are miracles that happen on a daily basis. We have a plethora of organizations, such as Legacy Community Services, Aids Foundation Houston (Camp Hope), Montrose Counseling Center, services through Bering Omega, as well as a wonderful medical community that tends to be a part of healing the world. Where do you feel Grace Lutheran takes its place among these?

Through the gifts of teaching and healing (among others), we transmutate to the powers of acceptance and forgiveness. There seems to be a cadential point in the scripture “But of these, three remain, Faith, Hope and Love, but of these, the greatest is Love.”

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world!
Red and Yellow, Black and White,
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus Loves the little children of the World.
And everything is beautiful, in its own, very special way!

In the wonderful tradition of Beethoven, I feel the need to delay the final cadence of this wonderful, enlightening conversation. In closing, I would like to add…..
In the words of another Martin Luther of our time, Dr. Martin Luther King:
“I Have a Dream, That One Day All God’s Children will be Free! Praise God, Praise God Almighty!”
I have felt today like Doubting Thomas, questioning, but with good reason gentle reader. Again, I applaud the Congregation of Grace Lutheran, with their wisdom and guidance, in calling you to be their Minister.
Thank You.

It only takes a spark, to get a fire going
And soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing
Can YOU be that spark in YOUR COMMUNITY?
Acceptance for All, rejection for none!
I believe maybe we ought to go visit MS Period Jones at George!

Have a great day!
We Are!
Ranger

As a postscript to this wonderful event in my life, I would like to say, on behalf of my family and myself, a very warm and gentle Thank You, to the community, for your expressions of sympathy, condolence and compassion, on the passing of my Step Mother and My Mother, over the past year and a half. I had two very special and wonderful Mothers in this life, and I know they are waiting on me to join them in the next life, much later on, I hope…..

“When The Roll is Called Up Yonder I’ll Be There!”

Jere Kizer Douglas

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