Sabado (Saturday) our Latin@ conference hosted a reformation celebration worship and education event. This was a wonderful example of the ways in which our Latin@ conference is working to educate our communities on our Lutheran confessional heritage as well as how Lutherans are part of the holy catholic church, but distinct from Rome. It is important that we do this work to ensure we are educating our members and not simply “pretending” to be Roman Catholic as some Lutheran communities have done in the past. That sort of “bait and switch” both does a disservice to our heritage as well as injures our ecumenical relationships with the church of Rome. The ecumenical officer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas reminded us at our 2017 Assembly that they themselves deal with these challenges as, in his words, “The reformation came to Europe 500 years ago, but to Latin America 50 years ago.” While that might be overstating things a bit, we are and must continue to be people who teach as well as preach.
I was so very impressed by the educational presentations taking place for all ages. The work that was put into the event by the planning team and the spirited worship. Great thanks should be given to Pastors Gus Vinejeros and Edy Santos for their leadership along with all the pastors of the Latin@ conference. Edy’s wife Ingrid Santos also deserves great thanks for her role in organizing and sharing the event via social media. Even more heartening was the worship leadership also included English speaking members of the Advent, Arlington. It is vital these communities work together despite linguistic challenges to help us proclaim the gospel.
The worship was wonderful. I preached in English (thank you Pastor Jesus Escamilla for translating) but presided en Espanol, part of my continued efforts to grow my ability to effectively minister to our communities in Spanish. Something I pray all our leaders are focusing on as well.
One of the issues I raised in my homily was that the Lutheran tradition is about balance, about keeping things in balance. We can honor the Virgin Mary and celebrate the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe because it has great cultural and historical importance for the Mexican people. But we understand we do not need Mary to intercede for us with Jesus. We have a gracious and loving God, we remember Mary because of her response to God’s call and the importance her witness gives to us as an inspiration for our life of faith. All these things can and should be held in balance as we teach and expand our understanding of how God continues to work in our lives.
Gracias por su participación, colaboración y buena disposición en nuestra celebración del 500 aniversario de la reforma. En Mision Junt@s!!!