John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Everything in Las Vegas seems so over the top and enormous that John and I were not too surprised when we visited Community Lutheran for Ash Wednesdays services. It is a large church with 3,707 baptized members. The Ash Wednesday service was a bit unusual for us as we come from a more traditional Lutheran background. Music for the service was provided by a praise band, there was also a handbell choir, and a 50-some voice choir provided some chorale numbers. We discovered later that the church has been blessed with professional musician and singers-the church also has a a small Gospel Choir. Last Sunday afternoon there was a benefit concert at Community Lutheran featuring other professional instrumentalists in Las Vegas. We attended that and were treated to the beautiful music of Mozart, Richard Strauss and Debussy. Members of the chamber orchestra have performed for shows on the Strip as Phamtom of the Opera and Lion King. Some of them play for the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Gambling is not the only big draw in Las Vegas!
We also attended noon Lenten services Wednesday in the chapel of Community Lutheran. The church does not provided evening services on Wednesdays during Lent so the one service was well attended, almost every seat was taken. The intern at the church, Angela Denker, gave a meditation on "what are you giving up for Lent this season and how does Jesus show what giving up really means?" It is customary usually to give up something like soda or chocolate for this special season of the church year, but Angela was referring to our pet sins- special things in our life which become god things and then turn into a bad things. After the message we were given sugar cubes to take to the altar and drop into a bowl of water. In the water the sugar cube instantly dissolved- symbolically so also our sins are given up to a gracious God who makes all things new. We spoke to Angela after the service (that past Sunday we discovered she is a student at Luther Seminary and is well acquainted with our niece Kathy who teaches there) and she commented that we should make sure to pass on to our niece that she took on the challenge of using an Old Testament story- parts of Exodus chapters 32 and 34- for her message that morning. Kathy is professor of Old Testament studies at Luther.