Dec
12
December 12
Wednesday 11:00 AM
Minneapolis: Main Sanctuary- Minneapolis Campus
Dec
16
December 16
Sunday 8:30 AM
This is for communion that takes place at either campus
Minneapolis: Serley Chapel
Dec
16
December 16
Sunday 9:00 AM
Sunday
~Sermon: Pastor
~Music:
~Communion: 8:30am & 12:45pm
~Sunday Church School: 9,10,11
~The Way: 9,10,11
~Nursery: 9,10,11


Minneapolis: Main Sanctuary- Minneapolis Campus
Dec
16
December 16
Sunday 12:45 PM
This is for communion that takes place at either campus
Minneapolis: Serley Chapel
Dec
19
December 19
Wednesday 11:00 AM
Minneapolis: Main Sanctuary- Minneapolis Campus

Change!

How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? None, Lutherans don’t change! You may have heard that joke before as well as this answer: “It takes two Lutherans to change a light bulb. One to change the bulb and one to say how much they like the old one better.” It is healthy to laugh at ourselves, but I don’t think the stereotype is true. We may think Mount Olivet never changes. It has and does.

Consider: In the early days, Swedish immigrants had a hard time believing that God understood English. They longed to hear the Gospel in their native tongue. Congregations split over the use of English.

In the last 50 years, think of these changes:

  • We have lived through four different hymnals (black, red, green, and cranberry). Each hymnal introduced new hymns that have become favorites.
  • We now have ordained women. Mount Olivet called its first woman pastor in 1985. Women have proven to be as good (or better!) than men in preaching, teaching, and pastoral work.
  • Women now serve on the congregation council (we used to call it the church council).
  • We once celebrated Holy Communion quarterly (because it was so holy). Now, it is available every Sunday (because it is so nourishing). At one time members came to Communion with a sober face bewailing their sins; now we urge people to come in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving for this gift. We rejoice that whole families come together to the altar where those who have not yet been prepared receive a pastoral blessing. When I was young my siblings and I sat in the pew while Mom and Dad went to Communion.
  • Pastors wore a black Geneva gown, then a black cassock and white surplice, and now an alb. The liturgical color for Advent was purple, now it is blue.
  • Reformation was once a time for pointing out that Catholics were wrong and we were right about the faith. I remember a Luther League program, “Testing Rome with my Testament.” Today, we emphasize what we have in common with Catholics as joint heirs of God’s grace. We no longer disdain a worship practice because it is “too Catholic.” Some Lutherans use the sign of the cross as a reminder of Baptism.
  • In our grandparents day Baptisms were often held in the home and were private. Today, we bring our children to the Baptismal font with the congregation as witnesses.
  • For generations, Confirmation was followed by Holy Communion. In the 1970s, children began communing earlier (5th grade), followed by Confirmation (9th grade).
  • Language has changed. We used to say Holy Ghost, now it is Holy Spirit. We had a more difficult time accepting the creedal change: “We believe in the Holy catholic church,” rather than the Holy Christian church. When it was explained, we accepted it.

These are just a few of the examples of how we have evolved. In a changing world, we look for the comfort of fixed points. So we sometimes expect the church to be the only institution that doesn’t change. But we, too, move with the times. As the church of the Reformation, we always are re-forming and re-freshing. We don’t just celebrate the changes that came about 500 years ago, but the way the church is always changing, always renewing, always reforming, and always in the light of the Gospel.

We never change just for change’s sake. It must be purposeful and seek to enhance rather than detract from congregational life. Of course, what is enhancing for one is an annoyance for another. Most changes have little to do with the heart of the Gospel. There will be changes as there always have been changes. That is the nature of life. What doesn’t change is the Gospel itself and its enduring grace.

Pastor Dennis Johnson,
Interim Senior Pastor