I heard on ESPN that the NFL is seriously considering eliminating kick offs in the name of player safety.  My initial reaction was, “What?! Are you crazy? You’re completely changing the game.”  I guess I’m more “Lutheran” about football than I am about church.  What do I mean by that?  Well there’s an old joke about churches and changing light bulbs... 

·How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb?  10, one to change it and 9 others to pray against the spirit of darkness!!

·How many charismatics does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. they already have their hands in the air!

·How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

·How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?   Change!  My grandmother gave that light bulb! if it was good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me. Who needs change anyway?!

So whenever I find myself being overly angered by change, I remind myself about that “Lutheran joke” regarding change.  Lutherans are supposed to be known for their doctrine of salvation through grace. You would think being “Grace Based” would make us more gracious, not more of a stick in the mud!  So I took a breath and considered, “Why would the NFL consider such a change?”  I played football as a little leaguer up through High School.  After that I coached my 3 boys little league football teams for 10 years. I thought of how often a kickoff return for a touchdown changed the course of a game! Then I compared that excitement, against the multiple times I went down with injuries, others around me went down with injuries, my players went down with injuries on kick offs.  It was primarily due to the full speed collisions and mayhem of kick offs.  Hmmmm, maybe the NFL’s safety committee has got solid reasons for this suggested change!!

I admit I’d miss a phrase like “kick off” becoming as passé as the VCR era phrase of “please be kind, rewind” (remember that?)  But really as long as the game itself continues and it becomes safer isn’t that the better result? I think a key to the NFL’s success is that it’s been able to grow and evolve while keeping its core components.  That unique combination of staying rooted and yet evolving has kept it continually growing rather than stagnating.  So when I’m scared by impending changes I think of the NFL and the way its weathered and even promoted changes for the better over the years.

Yet I could also think of GLC.  Over our 180 years we’ve weathered a significant amount of changes.  Imagine the consternation, some members had when the church decided to take down the horse stalls located at the back of the church property (that had been there for 60 years) in order to accommodate more parking spaces for those new-fangled “horseless” carriages?  Imagine how many changes each of the 45 different pastors over the past 180 years brought with them?  And we’re still standing!!  God is good. J 

Through all the challenges and changes over the years our congregation has learned to be a more truly Lutheran ”Grace Based” congregation than those nominally Lutheran churches who are solely “tradition bound.” Thankfully our GLC community developed various ways of being centered on Christ’s gospel of grace rather than simply being constrained by traditions. That kind of grace based community with a rich heritage and a gospel center is certainly one to celebrate.  So, come celebrate with us as we Kick Off our fall schedule on Rally Day, Sunday, Sept. 12th.    And lend your prayers to our planning group who are designing a second worship option at GLC that will still be ‘grace based” but more modern in its methods.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Pastor Mike