By Rev. Michele Fischer
One of the highlights of any South Carolina Synod Assembly is the opportunity to join together with Lutherans from across the synod to share in Holy Communion. This year’s Holy Communion service was held at the recently renovated St. Matthew’s Church in downtown Charleston.
With a full choir and bell choir, more than three hundred people gathered to hear the Word, share in the Holy Meal and were sent back out into the world.
The service began with a rite of Thanksgiving for baptism, where Pastor Karen Hawkins managed to ensure everyone was blessed with the sprinkling of water as a reminder of our baptism. Lessons were read in both Spanish and English. Bishop Herman Yoos preached about our call to go out into the world. Citing Luke 9 from The Message, he reminded us that we do not need any special equipment to go into the world; we are the equipment God needs, and he wants us to go forth with God’s message.
He also shared a story from the trip to Japan that he and a delegation from the synod took to Japan in March. One of the days, they toured the city of Nagasaki, one of the two cities devastated by a nuclear bomb at the end of World War II. Over 80,000 people, men women and children were killed instantly. It was an exhausting day, physically, mentally and spiritually. When they had finished their tour, Bishop Yoos simply wanted to go back to the hotel room and rest. But there was one more stop on their itinerary.
The weary travelers entered a Nagasaki Lutheran Church, a small congregation of fifteen people, and were greeted by an amazing feast. After the meal, their hostess presented each of the travelers with a hand carved cross. This woman had an incredible passion for ministry and hospitality. She not only welcomed these Americans warmly; She would sing hymns in the street, and had a sign inviting people to join her for free coffee and conversation.
Bishop Yoos invited us to reflect on what would happen if we treated everyone we met in the same way their wonderful hostess treated others.
We were blessed during worship to have two representatives from the Ingelsia Evengelica Luterana de Colombia join us. The Rev. Angelica Bernate read the reading from 1 Peter. Bishop Altahualpa Hernandez presided at Holy Communion.
It was wonderful to have two of our three companion synods remembered during worship with the reflections from Japan and the participation of our honored guests from Colombia.
Thank you to the wonderful musicians and planners, and all who served during the service for such a powerful time of worship and prayer.
Bishop Herman Yoos’s sermon.