Fellowship in the Great Tradition

Thoughts on the Great Tradition

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Enjoying the Great Tradition

We have chosen the title “Enjoying the Great Tradition” to unify our website and to get at what is particularly important to us here at Immanuel. The notion of “enjoying” the tradition is meant to get at the ancient Christian conviction that the Gospel is “good news.” The news that Jesus of Nazareth is risen and is in charge of things is the best news this world has ever known. It teems with excitement, hope, encouragement, and virtue. It is news meant for joy, and we do indeed enjoy it here at Immanuel, through our hymns, Sunday School, preaching, choir, and the mutual fellowship and support of our members.

The Great Tradition

And the phrase “Great Tradition” means, most simply, the life of the Church. But that is a big, holy, and glorious thing. The Great Tradition refers not simply to the current generation of Christians, with their current agendas and notions, important though they might be, but also to the whole Communion of saints -- to generations and centuries of brothers and sisters in the Lord and to what has mattered to them. The Great Tradition refers to the vast and often ancient convictions about what is good, true, and lovely in human life. Indeed, we care about the dogmatic, liturgical, and moral convictions of the church going all the way back to the apostles and to Him who is Lord of the apostles and all, even Jesus Christ.

Music in The Great Tradition

It is because we “enjoy” the “Great Tradition,” for example, that our Choir music here at Immanuel is so rich. We are blessed with an extraordinary Music Director, Dr. Gwendolyn Toth, who is learned and joyful in the whole world and ages of music.

Our Study of the Great Tradition

It is the same with our Sunday School. We teach the Great Tradition chiefly by teaching Bible stories to our children. But we teach with the beautiful and fun materials of the Godly Play curriculum.

Peace within the Great Tradition

The upshot of our emphasis on Enjoying the Great Tradition is that all sorts of Christians and newcomers find themselves quite at peace here at Immanuel. This is one Lutheran congregation, for example, where both Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod people can feel right at home. It is the same with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and so on. I do believe that many Christians and many absolute newcomers to the faith find themselves feeling at home when they find Immanuel Lutheran Church.

God be with you, always.


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Immanuel Lutheran Church
122 E. 88th Street
New York, NY 10128