There are a few fancy German words that I know and actually understand. I’m reasonably functional in German. Key phrases include “where is the bathroom,” “Help, police,” and “another beer please.” My favourite compound German word I can actually use properly is “umweltverschmutzung” (pollution) and “versicherung” (insurance – which requires you to spit twice and take a shot of schnapps to say properly). Schmetterling (butterfly) is always fun to yell in a quiet room, and vertrag (contract) is best growled out after several beer.
I’m a first generation Canadian. I actually have dual German-Canadian citizenship. I didn’t know there was an English liturgy until I joined choir and we had to sing in the English service. I was 10 years old. I can still remember thinking, “they do this in ENGLISH TOO?!” I loved the German hymns, and how we’d sing “HOSE-ee-ANN-ah” for hosanna. You’d hear all the language of the church in German, as Luther meant it to be. Our Gemeinde (congregation) held Gottesdienst (divine service) twice on Sundays; first in German, then in English.
Gottestdienst is a fantastic word. There’s no analog in English. “Worship” is as close as it gets, but it misses the point. Worship is regarded as something we do. Gottestdienst, as divine service, speaks of God coming to us. It’s not us doing something for God, but rather God coming to his people, through faith in Christ, and he serves us through His Word and the sacraments. In German, no one “has a heart for ministry” or whatever the lame diction currently in fashion tries – and fails – to express. And fails badly.
Pfingsten = pentecost. Predigt = sermon. Add them up, and the Pfingstpredigt – the Pentecost Sermon is today’s topic.
This year, Pentecost falls on the Sunday of the District convention. Congregations are expected to send a pastor and a lay delegate. That means means a lot of congregations will have to either find a supply preacher, or they have to get an elder to read a prepared sermon. District has been kind enough to solicit Concordia Lutheran Seminary President Rev. Dr. James Gimbel to write the sermon resources for Pentecost Sunday.
Normally I wouldn’t take much or bother to write about sermon resources. That’s mostly because I’m a layman and tend to be on the side of the communion rail where we face the guy who is doing the preaching. But we’re living in interesting times. I got a series of emails saying emphatically, “you need to read this.” So, I read it. And it’s interesting. I was actually a bit surprised that the sermon wrestles with the CEF fiasco. Remember stampede wresting? Kind of like that.
Let me be uncharacteristically effusive: I won’t say what I think about it, but I think District President, the board, and officers are delighted with it.
What does this mean? It means you should read it. You can direct download a PDF, or grab a copy from the District Convention Website – Worship Resources section.
Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.