Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Church in Germany--Jetzt mit Abendmahl!

All of the pictures in this post are out-takes from the ones we took for her passport photo.

Last Sunday, Hunter and I went to church again and this time we brought Sadie. It was the same German church we attended last time, but they had changed buildings to one that was a little closer to our apartment, so it was easy to walk there. Hunter and I brought our little notebook in which we had written down the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Lord's Prayer in German so we would know what to say. The order of service was basically the same as it was last time, except this time they had communion/Lord's Supper, which in German is called "Abendmahl."

Most of the way the service is conducted is very old-timey and very Lutheran. It follows the order of the Catholic mass very closely. However the way they did communion was kinda different. Like in a Catholic church (or the ones I've been to, anyway), half of the congregation walked up to the front. However, instead of just eating/drinking and walking back to your seat, everyone stood in a circle. The "eucharistic ministers" (there is probably a Protestant term for this but I don't know it) started by giving the plate of wafers to a person, then that person would pass it down the circle and so on. There was also something you were supposed to say when you passed it along. It was basically the German equivalent of either "the body of Christ" or "Christ's body, broken for you," something like that. Hunter was next to me so I didn't worry about it, but apparently the guy next to him gave him kind of a weird look when he didn't say anything.

They had wine, of course, and it was from a common chalice. They used white wine, which Hunter and I both thought was a bit unusual. They also didn't really have a way to wipe off the cup. I was only the second person, so it didn't matter and that kind of thing doesn't bother me anyway. I saw some people intincting (I'm basically sure that's not a verb, but they were dipping the wafers in the wine) and I don't know if this was because of germs or personal preference, but my feeling is that the germs are in the wine as well as the cup, so dipping doesn't really make a difference. So anyway, it was interesting to see how communion is done here.

As for the sermon, Hunter and I both understood bits and pieces. The main theme seemed to be darkness and light and I understood a few other isolated words, but not a ton. However, it kinda got me thinking about something one of the elders at our church in Alabama said. I don't remember which elder it was and I'm paraphrasing, so if you know feel free to comment or correct what I'm saying. Basically he was talking about the importance of the liturgy, and how even if the preacher went up and just spewed absolute untruth, we would still have the foundation of the liturgy, kind of like that was something he couldn't screw up, and we would still be worshipping during the other prayers, confessions, etc. So I feel like that's kind of what's going on here. Once we understand more German, it's possible we will find that this church does not line up with our beliefs. But until then, the parts we do understand are solid. We are going there in good faith to worship, and the liturgy that we know (know in the sense of connaitre or kennen--why doesn't English have a separate word for this?) is helping us to do that.

Sadie behaved great during the service! She mostly just slept in her little carrier strapped to me. She got a little restless toward the end, but she was mostly very quiet. I think there was another baby in there, in a stroller, who I didn't hear either. I'm glad babies are welcome in this church.

This is the one we actually chose for her passport

1 comment:

  1. The liturgy is great! In the prayer book, one of the reasons the Creed comes before the sermon is so we confess what's true, no matter what comes out of the preacher's mouth next. The service sounds fascinating, wish we could go with you.