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LIFE Through All Generations - p.7 Needs of My Generation - p.10 From Where Do “Christian” Children Come? - p.12 The Golden Thread of God’s Presence - p.14 In The Field - p.16 WORLD of the For the March 1998. Volume Two, Number One MARCH 1998 F E A T U R E S 3 2 Letters to the Editor 6 From the President 7 Through All Generations by Dr. Gene Edward Veith Dean of Arts and Sciences Concordia University, Mequon, Wis. The Christian church should be the place where generational differences are transcended, not reinforced. Only a church which resists being merely one generation can be relevant to them all. 10 Needs of My Generation by Ben Mayes Admissions Counselor Concordia College, Seward, Neb. The perceived needs of young people are no different from those of other generations. Young people, like everyone, need the forgiveness only Jesus can give to cover over their many sins. 12 From Where Do “Christian” Children Come? by Rev. Dr. Charles A. Gieschen Asst. Professor Exegetical Theology Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, Ind. God makes and keeps us His children through His means of grace. So, too, with our children. We do not make our children Christians. That is a work He accomplishes. 14 The Golden Thread of God’s Presence by Helen Kraus Cape Elizabeth, Maine God’s presence has woven a golden thread throughout her life. This thread has created a life that is sustained by God’s Word and His Sacraments. 16 In The Field by Pam Knepper Managing Editor For the Life of the World Features the Rev. John Fiene, Pastor at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church, Zionsville, Ind. For theLIFE WORLDofthe PRESIDENT Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe PUBLISHER Rev. Scott Klemsz MANAGING EDITOR Pam Knepper EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Lisa Ramey ART DIRECTOR PHOTOGRAPHER Steve Blakey Richard Rutkowski For the Life of the World is published quarterly by Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825. Icons taken from Luther’s Small Catechism, Copyright 1943, Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher of For the Life of the World. Copyright 1998. Printed in the United States. Postage paid at Fort Wayne, Indiana. To be added to our mailing list please call 219/452-2150 or e-mail Rev. Scott Klemsz at CTSNews. For the Life of the World is mailed to all pastors and congregations of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the United States and Canada and to anyone interested in the work of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Rev. Dr. Arthur Just Rev. Scott Klemsz Pam Knepper Deaconess Pam Nielsen Lisa Ramey Rev. Robert Roethemeyer CONTENTS page 10page 14 page 2 page 7 10 NEEDSOFMY GENERA Many college students today have an exciting,culturally-relevant worship style—the wor-ship of the self. Young people have needs that they want fulfilled. While at college, some young peo- ple adopt habits of alcohol and drug addiction. Many listen to what cul- ture tells them about sex. They decide that virginity is a disgrace and that sex is not so precious a thing that it needs to be reserved for marriage, as God instituted it. Many students make their habits relevant to college culture by adopting the provocative clothing styles as seen on television and acting in ways that are relevant to the sinful world, but not to God. Even among Christian young people, habits and modes of dress and speech are chosen that identify them with the market-oriented, needs-dri- ven, self-serving culture that we all know as America. Despite the many per- ceived needs of young peo- ple, their real needs are no different from those of other age groups, nationalities and generations. Young people today need the forgiveness Jesus gives to cover over their many sins. Our real problem is sin; our real need is forgiveness; our real solution is Christ. Many young people recognize that worship is where Jesus comes to us in His Word and especially in His Body and Blood. His Body and Blood given in com- munion are holy, so conscientious young people feel that a solemn reverence is the proper attitude to have during the time and place when Jesus comes to us. Kneeling and making the sign of the cross come to mind as appropriate responses to the presence of God. We realize that these external actions don't contribute to salvation. but they are a joyful response to that salvation! We also realize that holy joy is not the same as a spirit of carousing (Rom. 13:13). Instead, holy joy includes solemn reverence. Young people like things that enter- tain. Those items that educate or are good for them are usually not enjoyed. Yet if a person is brought up in a liturgical church, he will learn the liturgy soon and will have it memorized even as a very small child. He will then be able to carry the word of God with him wherever he goes. The liturgy, as given in the hymnal, is very easy for young children to learn if it is used consistently. What a joy it is to hear young children singing "Hosanna in the highest!" during the liturgy of Holy Communion, just as they did at Palm Sunday. Children in churches with changing liturgies or minimal congre- gational participation are not given the opportunity to learn God's Word by heart. Despite the many perceived needs of young people, their real needs are no different from those of other age groups, nationalities and generations. Young people today need the forgiveness Jesus gives to cover over their many sins. Our real problem is sin; our real need is forgiveness; our real solution is Christ. 11 ATION So naturally, worship in the Divine Service becomes meaningless time spent watching or drawing pictures. Because of this, they never learn first-hand why wor- ship is important—it is the place where Jesus comes to forgive His people. While growing up, there were certain times when I didn't enjoy church and liturgy. At those times my par- ents made me go to church, say the prayers and sing. Over time, it eventually grew on me and it's a good thing that no one told me that church had to be fun. Indeed, God wasn't "fun". If it wasn't for the habits that were instilled in me while young, my personal tastes would have gotten in the way and kept me from going to church, which is the very place I needed to be in order to have my sins forgiven. That's why the Divine Service, as it has been handed down in the Lutheran church, is so special. It has its own ‘other-worldly’ culture. The words of the Divine Service focus not on the needs and cravings of the moment, but on the real problem of sin and the real solution, Jesus. The Divine Service is special to many youth today. They respect and long for a style of worship that con- nects them to the historic roots of Christianity and rejects today's commercialized silliness. The music in the Divine Service focuses on God's words in a solemn, repentant and joyful way. It's not a question of what instruments should be played, but in how music should be used. Should music seek to draw attention to itself and entertain? If this is what young people were truly looking for, then we would be foolish to look for it in church. We could just turn on the radio or travel to the next rock concert. Our church's historic liturgy is relevant to youth. It is constant and addresses the needs of God’s people. The propers for the church year provide Biblical teach- ing and change from week to week and from season to season. The preaching proclaims the Law to help peo- ple recognize their sins and in turn offers the Gospel where forgiveness from those sins is found through faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord's Supper is simultane- ously the most personal experience with Jesus and also the most social, as His true Body makes us again into His mystical body. For some young people, the time of private Confession andAbsolution is both the most ter- rifying and comforting encounter with God. Finally, young Christians long for a sense of belong- ing and connectedness. We need to see that our gener- ation is one among many who are Christian. Instead of tailor-made liturgies emphasizing the uniqueness of our generation, we need to see that we're part of the one Holy Christian Church. This is evident in 1 Cor. 1:10, which states, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Young people today are no different than any other generation. We're all sinners who need forgiveness from our sins that only Christ can give. This is the real answer for our real need. Ben Mayes is an admissions counselor at Concordia College, Seward, Neb. by Ben Mayes