Sermon : Celebration & Constitution.
“ I’m a Lutheran…” with this sentence different people have been invited to share their reason to be Lutherans inthe magazine “ Living Lutheran.” In the issue for June 2016 the person featured was Rick Steves, a famous travel writer and TV host that I have enjoyed following on his travels throughout the world and to different cultures.
His sentence read: “ I’m a Lutheran because it fits my personality – pack light, keep it simple, embrace life, celebrate diversity, jettison needless rules, stand up to authority when the truth needs a hand, and dance through the blessing of life on Earth like a child in God’s eyes.”
We are gathered here this Sunday morning early in June, because we are Lutherans and I will urge you this morning and day to contemplate on why you are a Lutheran and not a Presbyterian, a Baptist, a Catholic, a Hindu or an Atheist? Why are we Lutherans?
If we go back to the very source, we are here in this church as Christians, because of the Gospel I read: the great Commission given to the first disciples to go out into the world and baptize and teach and bring God’s presence into the world.
More specifically we are here as Lutherans because of the Reformation that swept through Europe as Martin Luther posted his theses and spoke his words that changed and challenged the Catholic Church. More specifically we are here as a Danish Lutheran church because of the Danish Constitution in 1849 granting freedoms and rights, but also supporting the Danish Lutheran Church as the official State Church of Denmark.
And then even more specifically we are here in California as a Danish Lutheran church because of Johnsons, Larsen and Poulsens who took upon themselves to form a Danish Lutheran church in LA. It began as a dream and a vision of these first five Danes and it became a reality on June 5th 1906.
Did you notice that it is exactly 110 years ago on this very Sunday that the Danish Lutheran Church of Southern California was founded ; so today we do celebrate the Danish Constitution of 1849 and the Danish Lutheran Church of SoCal of 1906. Now the Danish Lutheran church did successfully relocate in 1995 – 21 years ago- from downtown to beautiful Yorba Linda.
So today we celebrate that we are indeed still here; as a Danish Lutheran Church founded 110 years ago and still going strong!
Why are we Lutherans? Because we were born to be, born into and brought up in a Danish Lutheran Family.. because we were lucky to marry a Lutheran… because the teachings, the mission and vision of the Lutheran Church fits my personality as Rick Steves puts it. He elaborates on his statements and says:
· Faithful travel is packing light but bringing Jesus along.
· I practice my faith on the road by knowing Jesus is with me and celebrating God’s creation every step of the way.
· I think travel can help people celebrate diversity, not be fearful, gain empathy for the rest of humanity, and appreciate the blessings of home and family when your trip Is finally over.
· I pray few requests and lots of thanks. Life is so good, especially when we get out and explore.
Life is good, isn’t it?
To be able to gather without fear to express our faith in this beautiful church.
To be able to vote and make our voices heard in elections.
To be able to accept differences and diversity.
To be able to travel the world…. and to call this wonderful place of the world my home.
To be able to gather here to celebrate the constitution of the old Kingdom of Denmark, which we hold dear and which we hold close to our hearts even when we live far far away.
To be able to celebrate something so precious and profound that many many people around our world envy it and dream about one day being able to live and breathe in a Democracy?
Thus we will sing the beautiful hymn and prayer: “ This is my song”
To celebrate our wonderful world and life
To celebrate our democracy, our constitutions and rights
To celebrate the beauty and blessings of our country
But even more to celebrate the beauty and the blessing of other countries than mine…..
So let us gather here today with gratitude and joy.
Let us celebrate and remember the constitution, the freedom, the diversity, the rights, the democracy, the beauty, the abundance, the blessings and the sheer joy of being.