The Lutherans in Hong Kong are waking up to the wonderful connection they have to the global church through the church year.
Now, because it is LCMS election season, there's an important question to ask.
"What does this mean?"
Or, put another way in this situation, "How did this happen?"
How did Ash Wednesday in Hong Kong happen?
Well, basically, a pastor in LCHKS went to study at St. Louis for an advanced degree. In the process, he was exposed to a rich liturgical tradition, and acquired a desire to see his home take ownership of it.
Pause right here for a second.
A foreign pastor acquired an abiding love for the ancient liturgical traditions of Lutheranism....
At the St. Louis Seminary.
Then, he returned to Hong Kong motivated to make a difference. And since he was associated with our seminary here in HK as well, he was in a place to do it.
(Pity my poor students!)
But that all makes it sound kind of easy. Let's look under the hood a bit.
This is all happening in a context where LCMS central support for missions in Hong Kong has fallen off a cliff.
But what if LCMS reduced its footprint where are these lay missionaries coming from?
It makes sense for the LCMS to engage on the institutional/pastoral/sacramental level, and to have a separate channel for laypeople.
Needs for training, equipping, and management are different!
A separate body (the biggest one is MCN, who sent Ruth and me, but there are a few other small ones) manages the different demand for lay missionaries.
I'm not going to tell you a name. If you want to know who I'd love to see working in international missions if I had my druthers, you should know.... I'm not really sure!
But I hope whoever is elected will enthusiastically embrace the complementary-but-separate roles of ordained and lay mission workers.