The Rev. Dr, Jeffrey A. Truscott, an ELCA missionary, is chaplain and a lecturer in worship and liturgy at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. To support Jeffrey, or another of the ELCA’s over 200 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
Recently I traveled to Medan, Indonesia, to lecture on the topic of Lutheran worship to a gathering of pastors, church leaders and musicians who belong to member churches of the Lutheran Worship Federation in Indonesia.
It was quite gratifying to know that our fellow Lutherans in Indonesian are concerned about Lutheran identity and worship. One reason for this interest is the issue of religious pluralism in Indonesia – the relationship between different faith communities (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist). Lutherans in Indonesia believe that they can only dialog with other faith traditions when they have a strong sense of their own tradition, especially its worship. Perhaps this commitment to Lutheran identity should inspire all of us to be more aware of our Lutheran heritage, especially its history, theological writings and worship traditions!
Medan is the capital city of the North Sumatra Province, located close to the Straits of Malacca, about one hour by plane from my base in Singapore. With a population of approximately 2 million people, it is the largest Indonesian city outside of Jakarta. Probably the infrastructure (roads, airport) are not up to the standards of other Asian cities like Hong Kong or Singapore (or of western cities), but the city is teaming with action and small businesses. The people are friendly and welcoming. Surprisingly, U.S. fast food in the form of KFC and Starbucks has made it to Medan.
While I was only able to spend a relatively brief time teaching in Medan, I am hopeful that my teaching will have planted seeds that bear fruit in the life of the churches represented at this gathering. Indeed, I believe that it will: After my departure, the attendees were tasked with planning a Reformation service that was to reflect the Lutheran worship heritage. Please join me in praying that this service will be a worthy representative of our worship tradition and inspire the faith of all in attendance.
Best regards in the Lord Jesus Christ,