A couple of weeks ago the schedule shifted and allowed me to attend church Sunday in Calgary. I took the opportunity to revisit St. Matthew’s, a Lutheran Church-Canada congregation that conducts a German and an English service.
A little more familiar with the Gesangbuch, I didn’t have as much trouble following along. The hymns on the board were not updated with the day’s hymns, so one of the other members of the congregation was nice enough to tell me the new hymns. I know German numbers, but only up to 100.
The tunes were wonderfully familiar: “Nun Danket Alle Gott” (“Now, Thank We All Our God”) and “Allein Gott In Der Höh” (“All Glory Be to God On High”) among others. A soloist actually sang, “Thy Strong Word” (LSB 578) in German. Knowing the tunes, it was a relatively simple matter to read the Germanic script and sing along. I missed a lot of “f”s and “s”s but did all right otherwise. Several members thought I understood German, and when I informed them otherwise, several members piped up, “We’ll teach you!”
Pr. Zeuch gave a good message for Canadian Thanksgiving, hitting us firmly but kindly about not being thankful for what we have been given in our surroundings and reminding us to care for those who have not been given as much, but he returned to the Gospel, being thankful for Christ on the cross for sinners rich and poor alike.
Between the German service and the English service I had a fun discussion with a German expatriate to Canada. We were best of friends and had much in agreement concerning the content of the liturgy and the importance of continuity in the faith once delivered to the saints. He then asked me about the Presidential contest in the States. I said I didn’t like either candidate but that Romney seemed to have a better handle on the economy.
That did not please mein Freund. I let him go on about how Obama came to office and saw that the poor were not getting healthcare and how socialized medicine is working well in Europe and Canada and so forth. So much material there, but I said that we can’t do ObamaCare with the trillions of dollars in deficit spending and the destruction of our currency over the last four years. We can’t saddle businesses with 13 new taxes that make hiring people impossible. We cannot make the assumption that if the State doesn’t do something, then nothing gets done. Many hospitals in the States were founded by religious institutions, and endowments allowed these hospitals to serve those who could not afford care. I would have loved to introduce him to Walther on this point, but we ran out of time.
The English service was Divine Service 3 out of the LSB. It’s invaluable to see the similarities in the German and English services. It drives home the point that the Holy Christian Church, confessing the same things we do, is more than just this group of people in this building. It conveys trust that the same faith is being taught in multiple languages.