So maybe I’m late to the party, but I heard that the LCMS “isn’t your grandfather’s church anymore”. Let’s ignore the blatant ageism. We’ll even ignore the irony that the guy championing this sound byte is at the same time both old enough to be a grandfather, and no longer in a controlling position in our church. Instead, maybe we should remember what we’re all about here in the first place: life everlasting, won by Christ crucified.
On All Saints day we remember those who have gone before us in Christ. We recognize that they are not dead but sleeping, for in Christ, though we die, yet shall we live. We find peace, hope, comfort, and joy in the knowledge that our grandfathers who have died before us are in heaven, before the throne of God, and sheltered in His presence. Our grandfathers are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
They are not gone. They are alive and well. They are saints, members of the Holy Christian Church. We see them every Sunday, and we are blessed to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the Communion of the Saints. That means it’s still their church too.
There’s a reason we do things the way we do here. Even old, boring things. These traditions show that those who have left us still have a voice, because they are still alive in our church.
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” —Gilbert K. Chesterton
I know tradition is being pitted against “youth” and “growth” in a small and arrogant attempt to cast aside those who have had the audacity to fall asleep in Christ. They’re wrong. Our tradition speaks volumes about what we have to offer. We offer eternal life won in Christ. In Him, we are given an eternal voice, that even when silenced in this world, continues to praise God in heaven, awaiting the next. We worship the way our grandfathers did because they are still a part of us here.
It absolutely is our grandfathers’ church. To say otherwise is to say they aren’t still a part of it. To say otherwise is to unbaptize everyone who has gone before us and say they aren’t a part of the church anymore.