This morning I attended church at Central Lutheran Church in Seoul, South Korea. The service was familiar and easy to follow along even though it was in Korean. The service was very liturgical. In fact, some parts of the liturgy used the same tunes (or same with minor variations) used in Lutheran Worship. On Saturday, President Um and I had a very frank discussion. I asked him some of the challenges facing Lutheranism in South Korea. He mentioned first off, "Our service is liturgical. The Protestants compare us to Roman Catholics and become confused what Lutheranism is about." He made no apology for the service nor did he suggest the service should change -- nonetheless, this is a challenge for his church, as it is for many Lutheran churches throughout the world, including the United States.
The sermon was preached by Rev. Mamoru Saito from the Japan Lutheran Church (NRK), a sister church of both the LCMS and the LCK. He preached on Luke 17:1-10. He is also a seminary professor at the Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary. This morning when Rev. Saito and I were speaking he told me about a fond memory 20 some years ago when he met the Bodes -- he proceeded to tell me about young Gerry and Erin. Then he said and now she is a famous jazz singer who came to Japan last year. Of course, he was speaking about Dr. Gerry Bode, professor at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, and his Erin Bode, who is well-known in LCMS circles for her music and her work on the Themba project where she recorded and produced the Themba Girls Album. Who would have thought 7,000 miles from Saint Louis, I would meet someone who knew Gerry and Erin Bode? What a small, small world.
The Sanctus in Korean
This is a very brief summary of the worship today. In the evening, we celebrated the dedication of Luther Tower -- more on that in the next post.