I have recently noted that those who do not attend Emmaus tend to describe and define our congregation on the basis of what they have heard about our liturgical practice and ceremony. Whether regarded positively or negatively, those assessments distinguish Emmaus as "high church," and seem to presume that we deliberately define ourselves in that way, too.
But those who attend Emmaus regularly, and who participate in the rhythm and fellowship of our congregation, tend to describe and define who we are in terms of catechesis and the preaching of the Gospel. That is definitely what I am chiefly and deliberately about as a pastor, and hardly anything makes me happier than hearing people say that what they hear and receive at Emmaus, and what they associate Emmaus with, is the Gospel.
For those who know and understand that the main thing at Emmaus, the primary and foundational thing, is the preaching and catechesis of the Gospel, everything else is recognized and received in that light. Our liturgical practices and our use of ceremonies simply belong to the catechesis and confession of that Gospel. So, too, the hymns we sing, and really everything else that we do on purpose as a congregation, is in the service of the Gospel.
From my pastoral perspective, certainly, that focus on the Gospel is what sets Emmaus apart. But it is significant, and I find it tremendously encouraging, when members and friends of our congregation identify us in that same way. Christ be praised!
Old Lutheran Quote of the Day
1 day ago