Our synod is blessed with a cornucopia of extraordinary events. Some of these are once-in-a-lifetime, such as the discussion of the reinterpretation of Luther held at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, led by Tuomo Mannermaa and his Helsinki colleagues. Others are recurring, yet still extraordinary.
Among the latter is The Festival of the Resurrection, hosted for years by the Evangelical Church of St. Luke, Chicago, on the first Friday of Easter. The event brings Lutherans together for prayer and praise, Word and Sacrament, fellowship, and stimulating speakers.
This year’s Festival was particularly stimulating. The Northern Illinois and Wisconsin Chapters of the Society of the Holy Trinity co-sponsored the event and brought together scholars from the ELCA, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
We are pleased to be able to share part of this remarkable event in the life of the Synod with a broader audience in this special double issue of Let’s Talk. Articles appear in the order of their presentation at the Festival of the Resurrection.
Frank Senn, STS, pastor of Immanuel, Evanston, and Senior of the Society of the Holy Trinity, presents an overview of the scriptural basis of our liturgical texts and practices. He makes the case that liturgy can’t exist without scripture, and scripture can’t exist as a living witness without liturgy.
Arthur A. Just, Jr., is Professor of Exegetical Theology and Dean of the Chapel, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. He surveys the contributions to our liturgical tradition found in the treatment of temple, synagogue, and table fellowship in Luke’s Gospel.
Paul Bieber, STS, Pastor of Christ the Mediator, Chicago, reminds us that our ecumenical dreams take place in the context of a fragmented Church. Bieber warns against despair and reminds us that as people of the resurrection and eschaton we are a work in progress.
Paul D. Lehninger, Assoc. Professor of Theology, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI, invites into an exploration of the ecumenical possibilities opened by a rigorous analysis of linguistic and metaphysical nuances in classic ancient, medieval and Reformation texts.
William H. Lazareth, STS, Professor of Lutheran Studies, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI, presents an appreciation for the achievement of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, but calls us to a larger vision of the catholic ecumenical possibilities by reminding us that the Doctrine of Justification was of great importance within a specific historical context. What was achieved in JDDJ was not an identity of understanding, but a compatibility, and that form of agreement may contribute to future ecumenical discussions.
Frank Senn also contributes his regular column, “As I See It.” He invites us to consider the public role of the minister of word and sacrament. Andrew Leahy asks us to think about what is essential for us as Lutherans for unity with other Christians, and to share our thoughts as part of the ongoing invitation, “Let’s Talk!”
We have tried to bring you some of the excitement of this year’s Festival of the Resurrection. We can’t replicate the spirited worship, the give and take of questions and answers and the final forum, or the delicious lunch and dinner provided by the St. Luke kitchen. We strongly recommend that you come to the Festival in 2005. Taste and see.