Much of what I found at Redeemer Lutheran reminded me of St Luke’s Episcopal, and like St Luke’s I was struck by the beauty of High Church.
The first of the funeral was the ringing of the eight bells. Pastor Mark Carter explained the significance of the 8 Bells tolled:
The first six stand for the six days in which the Lord God created the heavens and the earth, and called it very good. The seventh bell stands for the day God rested from his labors and the eighth bell has a dual significance. It stands for the fall of man in which Adam and Eve decided to go their own way and thus abdicated the authority God gave man over all creation to the great enemy of God. But it also signifies the brand new creation each of us can obtain through Jesus, whom Paul calls the second Adam. Because of Jesus sacrifice, we have the ability to be new in Him and rediscover the relationship God had with Adam and Eve if we will submit ourselves to Jesus Lordship.
In the service there was a lot of responsive reading and the singing of that great Martin Luther hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God. I’d never seen the verses we sang this day, but they conveyed the same message: “A mighty fortress is our God. A sword and shield victorious…” I have to laugh at myself. I couldn’t help but think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings when Aragorn issued the call to battle against the forces of Mordor.
I have to say that I felt very at home in this church. Every aspect was familiar, even though their services were not like the services at Sooner Park Wesleyan.
When I go to these services I would define as High Church, I am always struck by the beauty of our Christian heritage. It is a beautiful heritage filled with faithful men and women who often times had to die a martyr’s death because they would not deny their Lord and Savior. It is a beautiful heritage and one that should be celebrated.
Near the end of the funeral, a soloist sang How Great Thou Art, one of the beautiful old hymns that have so much beauty in them. An older man sat in front of me and it warmed my heart to hear him sing with the soloist. His love for Jesus was so great that he could not keep from singing, “…then sings my soul/my Savior God to Thee/How Great Thou Art!/How Great Thou Art!”
There are some who speak ill of Christianity, and especially speak ill of the denominations within the Body of Christ. But I would say that each of us are brothers and sisters who believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father. I refuse to let anyone led me into thinking our Christianity is something to be ashamed of.
And so I would repeat with joy that Apostles’ Creed written so long ago:
I believe in God the Father, Almighty maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son our Lord
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified , dead and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
And sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit
The holy Christian church
The communion of saints
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body
And the life everlasting Amen.