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Wednesday, December 31, 2008 

Matins At Trinity In The ‘Cove

Well, the missus and I are back from visiting her family down in the Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, and Killeen area down in Texas. I thought I’d share my Sunday experience with y’all.

We attended Trinity Lutheran Church in ‘Cove on Sunday. Trinity is our go-to congregation when we are in the central Texas area. Whoever said Germans are incapable of being friendly has never visited this parish. Good grief these people are nice! What a welcoming group that breaks from the stereotypical mold of Lutherans being all stoic and unfriendly.

Our order of service was the office of Matins which is used frequently when the Eucharist is not offered in my home congregation (In my congregation the Lord’s Supper is offered every Sunday alternating between our 8:30 and 11:00 services. When there is a fifth Sunday then Holy Communion is celebrated at both services.) We followed the order of Matins right out of the Lutheran Service Book with no changes to accommodate any local traditions. My missus even commented that it’s good to visit a congregation without having to look around to figure out what’s going on.

The hymns were solid and tied to our pericope (for my newer readers a pericope is a Scripture reading. We get the word from the Greek word περικοπή, meaning "a cutting-out"). We even sang “Sweet Flowerets of the Martyr Band” a great old hymn that didn’t make it into our new hymnal so the text had to be printed out in the bulletin. I only wish that the music was included so I could follow along a bit easier. By the forth stanza I was able to sing along with the congregation with a bit of confidence but the first few verses were rough.

Pastor Bernie Schey gave a pretty good sermon that reviewed Herod’s slaughter of the innocents in the light of Rachel’s weeping as the Church’s weeping on this side of eternity. God’s faithfulness in spite of his sinful rebelling creatures’ attempts to thwart His plan of salvation was covered as well.

So let’s review; solid hymns…check. An order of service that wasn’t penned two nights before so as to appear relevant and hip with seekers or to be emotive for the sake of being emotive…check. Solid gospel preaching…check. What more could I ask for?

Finally; the attendance was a bit little light at Trinity because most of Fort Hood’s two divisions have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Average attendance runs about a hundred people on a Sunday so it’s clear that the war is really hitting them hard. If my congregation lost so many, for what ever reason, I’m not certain we could even afford to pay our bills. Let’s keep our brothers and sisters in those faithful congregations who serve military installations and especially Trinity Lutheran Church in our prayers.

If you ever are in the central Texas area give Trinity Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove a try. If you do, you’ll know that you singing and praying with angels and archangels and all the company of Heaven as the very marks that define Christ’s Church are present. What more could any of us ask for?

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So let’s review; solid hymns…check. An order of service that wasn’t penned two nights before so as to appear relevant and hip with seekers or to be emotive for the sake of being emotive…check. Solid gospel preaching…check. What more could I ask for?"

Amen to that, Frank. While we are non-denominational, 95% of the time our preaching is expository. So, we can just be following along in the scripture at home, knowing what text the message will cover each Sunday. I like this because it shows faith in the Word of God to pierce our hearts and not a whim of the pastor/teacher. We're one of the few non-denominational churches in the area that still leans on the hymnals (in addition to other worship songs). It's not Lutheran, but I think you'd appreciate it.

“95% of the time our preaching is expository” I just don’t understand anybody’s move away from expository preaching. Life application as preaching and the avoidance of any preaching that pierces the heart (i.e. the Law) has infected many a church body, including mine.
“It's not Lutheran, but I think you'd appreciate it.” You know me well. Don’t lean on those hymns, stand on them because they confess our Lord!

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  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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