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Clyde, Time Was: We could take a lesson from stalwart Lutherans

Time was, there were Lutherans every which-a-way you turned. They came out on Wednesdays with Pyrex covered dishes in church basements for mid-week services. The town of China Grove was named Lutherville in 1846. They named churches and people after Luther; like Luther’s Lutheran in Richfield and Luther Sowers. We went to Camp Lutheridge.

How many pews were filled with vacation church school, confirmation classes, or choir practice? The Luther League met religiously. We didn’t have to eat fish sticks on Friday or wear green on March 17. We knew the Stirewelts, Ritchies, Schenks, Bosts, Sechlers, Diehls, Kress’, Wilhelms, Gutmann und das Meissenheimers, and pages of Millers in the phone book. Little did we know that two centuries earlier, they were all on a boat coming to the promised land. Or, who could have known several generations later, by 1940, we would despise everything German? Why are we so worried about immigrants today? The word Deutsch is still mistaken for Dutch.

What would possess a man to move to a new country, not knowing what the future would bring, taking only his religion with him? The 10 ships sailed in April 1710 with 3,000 souls. “Several hundred died in the luckless voyage, many perished in quarantine, one vessel sank, and they lost all their belongings.” Twelve thousand had made it to the “new world” of Pennsylvania by 1749. “Thanks to their industry, the German disillusioned immigrants were well equipped to begin a new life in a new territory. The people of Germantown made the earliest protest uttered in this country against negro slavery in 1688.”

Meanwhile back in the motherland; whatever your sin; witchcraft, polygamy, murder, robbing churches, or perjury — you could buy an indulgence. “Soon in the chest the money rings the soul from purgatory springs.” John Tetzel set the stage, except for one Doctor of Theology at Wittenberg, the learned Martin Luther, who was outraged and wrote his ninety-five theses and nailed them to the door at Castle Church. October 31st, 1517. They say the doors are bronze now, the original doors are lost. They must not have a Historic Properties Commission to let things change or maybe they have all Yankees and no quorum like us.

When asked to retract his writings at the Diet of Worms, he emphatically said, “Heir ich stand, I can no other, God help me, Amen.” followed by a profound silence. In 1529, the Evangelical party protested against religious oppression and hence arose the name Protestant. Imagine the sheer conviction necessary to stand up against the whole church for one’s beliefs. Do we have anything we would stand up for without retreat? Luther’s hymns must have meant something to settlers on the edge of Westward expansion in Rowan County. Michael Brown’s house was the earliest and Organ, Union, and St. John’s Churches all still survive — changed and restored.

“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still.” What commitment would you need to leave home or march off to war? Would you stand up and volunteer for our country today? Consider the children’s fable of the rich king who had a birthday and asked all of his animal subjects to bring gifts. When asked what he wanted, he thought and replied; a great big ham and egg breakfast. Well, the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.

People with relatives in service or who have themselves served, know what it means to sacrifice. “Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori” is reserved for those who die for a country. To take a stand doesn’t mean to protest on one knee. Kneeling used to mean respect for the Queen, the Pope, or at a manger. What are we missing? That’s why we say “stand up” for what you believe. “Stand up,” the flag is passing by — or just don’t say anything and pretend to live in a free country that gives you opportunities to work, play, and vote. You tell’um Bruce. Remember the devout Sunday school teacher who gave us the example of the firing squad, asking everyone who is a Christian to step forward. Would you “stand up” for your convictions or take cover and hide?

Let’s hope we never have to finally decide. Stand firm beside your comrads — God, country, approximately 80 million Lutherans or non-Lutherans. “This land is my land. A bulwark never failing. His kingdom is forever.” We are a small part of Lutherans everywhere.

Clyde, who goes by his first name only, is a Salisbury artist.

 

Time was, there were Lutherans every which-a-way you turned. They came out on Wednesdays with pyrex covered dishes in church basements for mid-week services. The town of China Grove was named Lutherville in 1846. They named churches and people after Luther; like Luther’s Lutheran in Richfield and Luther Sowers. We went to Camp Lutheridge. How many pews were filled with vacation church school, confirmation classes, or choir practice? The Luther League met religiously. We didn’t have to eat fish sticks on Friday or wear green on March 17. We knew the Stirewelts, Ritchies, Schenks, Bosts, Sechlers, Diehls, Kress’, Wilhelms, Gutmann und das Meissenheimers, and pages of Millers in the phone book. Little did we know that two centuries earlier, they were all on a boat coming to the promised land. Or, who could have known several generations later, by 1940, we would despise everything German? Why are we so worried about immigrants today? The word Deutsch is still mistaken for Dutch.

What would possess a man to move to a new country, not knowing what the future would bring, taking only his religion with him? The ten ships sailed in April 1710 with 3,000 souls. “Several hundred died in the luckless voyage, many perished in quarantine, one vessel sank, and they lost all their belongings.” Twelve thousand had made it to the “new world” of Pennsylvania by 1749. “Thanks to their industry, the German disillusioned immigrants were well equipped to begin a new life in a new territory. The people of Germantown made the earliest protest uttered in this country against negro slavery in 1688.”

Meanwhile back in the motherland; whatever your sin; witchcraft, polygamy, murder, robbing churches, or perjury — you could buy an indulgence. “Soon in the chest the money rings the soul from purgatory springs.” John Tetzel set the stage, except for one Doctor of Theology at Wittenberg, the learned Martin Luther, who was outraged and wrote his ninety-five theses and nailed them to the door at Castle Church. October 31st, 1517. They say the doors are bronze now, the original doors are lost. They must not have a Historic Properties Commission to let things change or maybe they have all Yankees and no quorum like us.

When asked to retract his writings at the Diet of Worms, he emphatically said, “Heir ich stand, I can no other, God help me, Amen.” followed by a profound silence. In 1529, the Evangelical party protested against religious oppression and hence arose the name Protestant. Imagine the sheer conviction necessary to stand up against the whole church for one’s beliefs. Do we have anything we would stand up for without retreat? Luther’s hymns must have meant something to settlers on the edge of Westward expansion in Rowan County. Michael Brown’s house was the earliest and Organ, Union, and St. John’s Churches all still survive — changed and restored.

“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still.” What commitment would you need to leave home or march off to war? Would you stand up and volunteer for our country today? Consider the children’s fable of the rich king who had a birthday and asked all of his animal subjects to bring gifts. When asked what he wanted, he thought and replied; a great big ham and egg breakfast. Well, the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed. People with relatives in service or who have themselves served, know what it means to sacrifice. “Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori” is reserved for those who die for a country. To take a stand doesn’t mean to protest on one knee. Kneeling used to mean respect for the Queen, the Pope, or at a manger. What are we missing? That’s why we say “stand up” for what you believe. “Stand up,” the flag is passing by — or just don’t say anything and pretend to live in a free country that gives you opportunities to work, play, and vote. You tell’um Bruce. Remember the devout Sunday school teacher who gave us the example of the firing squad, asking everyone who is a Christian to step forward. Would you “stand up” for your convictions or take cover and hide?

Let’s hope we never have to finally decide. Stand firm beside your comrads — God, country, approximately 80 million Lutherans or non-Lutherans. “This land is my land. A bulwark never failing. His kingdom is forever.” We are a small part of Lutherans everywhere.

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