A few years ago someone asked me, when they heard about me wanting to start a Lutheran emerging church, what kind of building would be ideal? A warehouse? Storefront? No I said. A hundred year old church building with no pews. That would be perfect. I honestly did not know at that time that my synod happened to own a 100 year old church building with no pews. It was Bethany Lutheran - established in the late 1800s and disbanded sometime in the 1960's. For the last 18 years the building has been given to the American Indian community to use. They share the space with us.
So, yesterday afternoon as I was trying to move some stuff around for the Maundy Thursday service, I found in the back of a closet the Original Bible and cross which I'm assuming were used on the altar back when there was a Lutheran church still worshiping there.
We used the cross. When I realized what I had found I started to cry.
In my tradition there is no absolution during Lent. We confess on Ash Wednesday and do not receive the absolution until Maundy Thursday. Everyone comes forward and the pastor lays hands on them saying "In obedience to the command of Christ I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins. Amen"
We remember the command of Christ to Love one another and to wash one another's feet.
We as an act of serivce and worship assembled bleach kits for Denver's underground needle exchange because:
...we are unconditionally loved in our own beautiful, broken process
...our brokeness does not dictate how many chances we get and how many times we are offered safety and care
...we continue to see the way our lives our changed, without merit and outside of achievement
... we believe and confess that grace is real
To sing "Take O Take Me As I Am" while putting cookers and bleach and condoms in bags felt quite holy.
As we left we threw "30 pieces of silver" into a basin by the door. This is to be given to a group who has been betrayed. This year it goes to the American Indian community we share space with.
It was an amazing night.
Now for Good Friday...