Poll

How does/will/did your congregation incorporate Independence Day into the worship service?

Hymn(s) only.
1 (2.3%)
Hymn(s) and prayers.
19 (43.2%)
Hymn(s), prayers, and sermon
12 (27.3%)
Not at all.
4 (9.1%)
Other (please elaborate)
8 (18.2%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: July 4th, 2010 - 6th Sunday After Pentecost and/or (U.S.) Independence Day  (Read 6885 times)

Team Hesse

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Karl Hess writes:
Really, nearly every form of Christianity apart from Lutheranism has been quite political.

I comment:
Duke Frederick and his colleagues might disagree with you, as would several Prussian emperors, and those heads of "Lutheran" states (happily imprisoning Anabaptists).

Not really accurate, Charles.  The context of the time for Duke Frederick and his colleagues from, say, 1518-1648 (the Treaty of Westfalia) was that the Lutheran princes were under threat of extermination at the hands of the Catholics.  So they were fighting to preserve their right to proclaim the Gospel in their pulpits.  Self-defense.

There were no Prussian emperors; Prussia was a kingdom until Bismarck declared the German empire in the Palace of Versailles in 1871 naming his own king as the first German emperor.  What also needs to be remembered here is that fairly early on the Hohenzollern royal house of Prussia converted to Calvinism, so their machinations involving the church should not be foisted onto Lutherans.  Indeed, it was their act of unification in 1817 that triggered a split in the Lutheran church between those who would obey the crown and join with Calvinists in the Union Church of Prussia over against those who refused -- this split triggered the Saxon immigration from which the Missouri Synod is descended. 

Lou

Team Hesse

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The exception of course is Amazing Grace, but we use that as a distribution hymn, thus avoiding me having to sing such a dreadful hymn.

I muse:
Taking all the fun out of hymn-singing, eh, Pastor Uttenreither?   ;) ;D
I'll agree that "Amazing Grace" may be a bit overused, especially by bagpipers (but then for me, one use of anything on a bagpipe is overuse). But "dreadful"?
No matter, if it makes you feel good not to sing it... 

I never heard Amazing Grace in a Lutheran church until I went to college. 
Lou

BrotherBoris

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I don't hate the hymn,"Amazing Grace." However, it does seems to be way over-used.  It seems to be the only Christian hymn Hollywood knows, maybe that's why I am not fond of it. Maybe I also don't like it for its associations with the Evangelicals, fundamentalists and Baptists.  But that's my problem, not the hymn's.  Like I said, I don't hate it. But I do tire of its frequent use.  I think there are much better hymns about the grace of God out there ("By grace I'm saved, grace free and boundless" comes to mind.)  I think using it mostly as a Distribution hymn (rather than as Hymn of the Day) is appropriate. I've heard some Lutherans say that "Amazing Grace" confuses the Law and Gospel because it has that phrase in it ""Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed."  Doesn't the Law that we have broken teach our hearts to fear? How can God's grace and mercy teach our hearts to fear? Grace and mercy relieve the fear. Plus all that focus on "the HOUR I first believed" seems to lay more stress on the conversion experience and so-called "accepting of Jesus" than it does on what Jesus has actually done for us. 

Who knows? Maybe I am being too picky. I think people that like this hymn like it for the haunting tune first and secondarily for the text. If it were sung to the tune of some German chorale in a minor key, I wonder how many people would like it then?

Just a thought. 

Pastor Schuster

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In a way, one could say that we were indeed founded as a "Christian nation," but then learned that pushing the concept wasn't a good idea.

Thanks for this point. I think you're right.

Pastor Schuster

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I muse:
Taking all the fun out of hymn-singing, eh, Pastor Uttenreither?   ;) ;D
I'll agree that "Amazing Grace" may be a bit overused, especially by bagpipers (but then for me, one use of anything on a bagpipe is overuse). But "dreadful"?
No matter, if it makes you feel good not to sing it... 

This part-German, part-Swiss, part-Scot will forgive you your heresy regarding the blessed pipes.  ;D

Team Hesse

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I don't hate the hymn,"Amazing Grace." However, it does seems to be way over-used.  It seems to be the only Christian hymn Hollywood knows, maybe that's why I am not fond of it. Maybe I also don't like it for its associations with the Evangelicals, fundamentalists and Baptists.  But that's my problem, not the hymn's.  Like I said, I don't hate it. But I do tire of its frequent use.  I think there are much better hymns about the grace of God out there ("By grace I'm saved, grace free and boundless" comes to mind.)  I think using it mostly as a Distribution hymn (rather than as Hymn of the Day) is appropriate. I've heard some Lutherans say that "Amazing Grace" confuses the Law and Gospel because it has that phrase in it ""Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed."  Doesn't the Law that we have broken teach our hearts to fear? How can God's grace and mercy teach our hearts to fear? Grace and mercy relieve the fear. Plus all that focus on "the HOUR I first believed" seems to lay more stress on the conversion experience and so-called "accepting of Jesus" than it does on what Jesus has actually done for us. 

Who knows? Maybe I am being too picky. I think people that like this hymn like it for the haunting tune first and secondarily for the text. If it were sung to the tune of some German chorale in a minor key, I wonder how many people would like it then?

Agreed, Br. Boris; these were the precise arguments I heard when I was growing up.
Lou

Pastor Schuster

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I don't hate the hymn,"Amazing Grace." However, it does seems to be way over-used.  It seems to be the only Christian hymn Hollywood knows, maybe that's why I am not fond of it. Maybe I also don't like it for its associations with the Evangelicals, fundamentalists and Baptists.  But that's my problem, not the hymn's.  Like I said, I don't hate it. But I do tire of its frequent use.  I think there are much better hymns about the grace of God out there ("By grace I'm saved, grace free and boundless" comes to mind.)  I think using it mostly as a Distribution hymn (rather than as Hymn of the Day) is appropriate. I've heard some Lutherans say that "Amazing Grace" confuses the Law and Gospel because it has that phrase in it ""Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed."  Doesn't the Law that we have broken teach our hearts to fear? How can God's grace and mercy teach our hearts to fear? Grace and mercy relieve the fear. Plus all that focus on "the HOUR I first believed" seems to lay more stress on the conversion experience and so-called "accepting of Jesus" than it does on what Jesus has actually done for us. 

Who knows? Maybe I am being too picky. I think people that like this hymn like it for the haunting tune first and secondarily for the text. If it were sung to the tune of some German chorale in a minor key, I wonder how many people would like it then?

Just a thought. 

I think your thought is mostly right. My own problem with the hymn has also been with "the hour I first believed"; I agree that can be taken to overstress the 'I chose Jesus' concept so beloved of the so-called 'evangelicals'.

Interesting issue about the hymn's potential for confusing law and gospel in the minds of hearers/singers. Obviously, the law is not a means of grace; yet it was given out of grace. A gracious God gives law so that hearts may be broken and sin restrained, rather than remaining remote or indifferent.

Happy 5th of July, by the way. I hope today can be a day of rest for many of you.

Pax

Brian Stoffregen

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The exception of course is Amazing Grace, but we use that as a distribution hymn, thus avoiding me having to sing such a dreadful hymn.

I muse:
Taking all the fun out of hymn-singing, eh, Pastor Uttenreither?   ;) ;D
I'll agree that "Amazing Grace" may be a bit overused, especially by bagpipers (but then for me, one use of anything on a bagpipe is overuse). But "dreadful"?
No matter, if it makes you feel good not to sing it... 

I never heard Amazing Grace in a Lutheran church until I went to college. 

I'm not sure that it was included in a Lutheran hymnal until LBW.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

BrotherBoris

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If you want to see an example of Evangelicals at their worst on the 4th of July, just take a look at the pictures from this link: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/07/04/1544056/mike-huckabee-preaches-at-first.html

Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, preaches at First Baptist of Charlotte, NC.  If you scroll through the photos, you'll notice the larger-than-life American flag covers the wall behind the choir and completely covers the stained glass window of Jesus. (I wonder if they see the irony in that?). Note also the military people they brought in to do the pledge of allegiance and the balloons and confetti that were released on the congregation. Amazing.  I've never seen such a confusion of the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of Caesar.  It isn't that what they are doing is wrong or evil, but I cannot for the life of me understand why this has any place in CHRISTIAN worship. Can anyone explain.

Boris

Mike Bennett

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If you want to see an example of Evangelicals at their worst on the 4th of July, just take a look at the pictures from this link: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/07/04/1544056/mike-huckabee-preaches-at-first.html

Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, preaches at First Baptist of Charlotte, NC.  If you scroll through the photos, you'll notice the larger-than-life American flag covers the wall behind the choir and completely covers the stained glass window of Jesus. (I wonder if they see the irony in that?). Note also the military people they brought in to do the pledge of allegiance and the balloons and confetti that were released on the congregation. Amazing.  I've never seen such a confusion of the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of Caesar.  It isn't that what they are doing is wrong or evil, but I cannot for the life of me understand why this has any place in CHRISTIAN worship. Can anyone explain.

Boris

"This Land Is Your Land" in a Christian worship service?   :o

What a perfect example of "I don't have anything against it, but not here!"

Mike Bennett
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 12:34:19 PM by Mike Bennett »
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Charles_Austin

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And remember that Mr. Huckabee once had and may still have presidential ambitions. Huckabee-Palin?  ::) :o

Kevin Palmer

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And remember that Mr. Huckabee once had and may still have presidential ambitions. Huckabee-Palin?  ::) :o

I'm very aware of this.  And it's candidates like these who are largely the reason I no longer consider myself to be a Republican.  (But don't get excited, I'm not a Democrat, either).

Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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If you want to see an example of Evangelicals at their worst on the 4th of July, just take a look at the pictures from this link: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/07/04/1544056/mike-huckabee-preaches-at-first.html

Ugh. It looks like a political convention rather than Divine Service. But what to expect from Southern Baptists? Then again, isn't that just playing into the caricature of Protestant Christendom: the Church exists to post Ten Commandments in every building and elect white Republicans to Congress.

We sang the hymns "Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng" (LSB 813), "Before You, Lord, We Bow" (LSB 966), "Lord of All Nations, Grant Me Grace" (LSB 844), "Sent Forth by God's Blessing" (LSB 643), and "God Bless Our Native Land" (LSB 965). I also used the LBW National Holiday Propers and preached on Jeremiah 29:4-14. But there was no flag ceremony, no Pledge of Allegiance, no balloon drop. Just Divine Service 1 from Lutheran Service Book.
Pr. Luke Zimmerman
Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church -- Mechanicsburg, PA

BrotherBoris

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And remember that Mr. Huckabee once had and may still have presidential ambitions. Huckabee-Palin?  ::) :o

I'm very aware of this.  And it's candidates like these who are largely the reason I no longer consider myself to be a Republican.  (But don't get excited, I'm not a Democrat, either).

And can you even IMAGINE what the foreign policy of a Huckabee might be, with a carte blance for Israel and the idea that stirring up war in the Middle East might be a good thing because it would make the so-called "Rapture" happen sooner?  I shudder to think of such a possibility.

BrotherBoris

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I guess I ought to leave this subject alone, but I have today off from work and I'm bored.

I looked up the Choir Anthem at First Baptist of Charlotte for July 4th: Livin' in the Homeland. Here's the text:

LIVIN’ IN THE HOMELAND
Lyrics
Words and Music by Randy Vader
Arranged by Jay Rouse
Livin’ in the homeland, not afraid to take a stand,
Every woman, child and man deserves to be free.
Stand tall. Don’t fall. All for one. One for all.
That is the battle call for you and for me.
Freedom and liberty demand a high cost.
Many rights gained through so many lives lost.
The brave and the free know it goes hand in hand,
If you dare to dream, dare to dream,
Dare to dream of livin’ in the homeland.
Free, free, if you want to be free,
You must count the cost for your liberty.
Free, free, if you want to be free,
You must count the cost for your liberty.
Side by side, hand in hand, for freedom’s cause we’ll take a stand!
Side by side, hand in hand, for freedom’s cause we’ll take a stand!
Undivided strength as one. That is how we’ll overcome.
Undivided strength as one. That is how we’ll overcome.
The free and brave still stand protecting our homeland.
March! March with our flags held high.
Not afraid to fight. Not afraid to die.
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.
Freedom and liberty demand a high cost.
Many rights gained through so many lives lost.
The brave and the free know it goes hand in hand,
If you dare to dream, dare to dream,
Dare to dream of livin’ in the homeland.
Free, free, if you want to be free;
Free, free, if you want to be free;
Free, free, if you want to be free,
Free, free, if you want to be free!
Free, free, if you want to be free!
Free, free, if you want to be free!
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.
Oh, March! March with our flags held high.
Not afraid to fight. Not afraid to die.
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.
Freedom and liberty demand a high cost.
Many rights gained through so many lives lost.
The brave and the free know it goes hand in hand,
If you dare to dream, dare to dream,
Dare to dream of livin’ in the homeland.
Free, free, if you want to be free;
Free, free, if you want to be free;
Free, free, if you want to be free,
Free, free, if you want to be free,
Free, free, if you want to be free,
Free, free, if you want to be free,
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.
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rights reserved.

Maybe they should rename it "Livin' in the Fatherland" ?