Today, Good Shepherd was privileged to have Rev. John Gierach serve as guest pastor for our Mission Festival. Pastor Gierach currently serves at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northfield Township (rural Ann Arbor), MI. He and his wife, Vivien, had served in Zambia, Africa for ten years after Pastor Geirach had graduated from the seminary. They each talked about life, ministry, and challenges in Africa. Their presentation was fascinating, and it taught us all to appreciate the life of luxury and, by comparison, ease that we take for granted here. Pray for the Christians in Africa, and give thanks for your own life here.
In order for Pastor Gierach to come here for our Mission Festival, he and I exchanged churches this morning. It was a blessing for each of our congregations, I think. But I also got to enjoy something I had not enjoyed for decades. St. John's is still using The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) of 1941, the hymnal I grew up with. Christian Worship, our current hymnal, was introduced while I was at the seminary and pretty much the only hymnal I have used since my ordination. So, not only did I get to experience worship with TLH, I also conducted TLH, page 5, for the first time in my life (I think).
It was a blast from the past, and it was like talking with a long-lost friend. Of special note was enjoying hymns that were written and meant to be sung in four part harmony. I esepcially hope that any new hymnal projects will work hard to bring those back again.