Having said all that, there are things that Lutherans can learn from Catholics and Catholics can learn from Lutherans. One big one for me is observing the liturgical seasons of the church year. When I am allowed to teach Confirmation, I make my kids learn the seasons of the church year because it makes total sense. We start in Advent with the anticipation of Jesus’ birth, have 12 days of birthday celebrations, celebrate Jesus’ ministry for 6-7 weeks during Epiphany/Ordinary time, focus on his death/resurrection during Lent/Holy Week/Easter, and Pentecost/Ordinary time is the history of the Church on earth which culminates with Christ the King Sunday for us. It’s something that a lot of Lutherans get a little nervous about because it seems too “Catholic” and it causes me to wonder exactly who I need to slap for teaching that the Lutheran Church *magically* descended from Heaven in 1517. (No, we don’t teach that but sometimes I kind of wonder.)
One thing that Catholics and Lutherans can share is church music. We get some breathtaking chant from the Catholics and some kickin’ German chorales from the Lutherans that are insanely beautiful. By the way, I apologize on behalf of Lutherans for inflicting Marty Haugen on you. Does it make you feel better that he’s no longer Lutheran and is now UCC?
On prayer, it is indeed true that Luther prayed the Rosary daily but… he prayed only the first half of the Hail Mary. We Lutherans could use some help in getting to know Mary better. I know that my pregnancy 3 years ago enabled me to become acquainted with her because it was a hellish pregnancy and knowing that she had been forced to travel to Bethlehem while seriously with child was helpful to me. I think we could use some help with praying liturgically and in exchange, we’ll teach you how to pray extemporaneously. Oh wait… we’re not great at that either. I might have to enlist the help of some of my Baptist friends on that end.
My point is that Catholics and Lutherans should be friends. We’re both fans of Jesus and He *did* pray that we would all be one. I’m not saying that we have to start loving each other’s worship or that Lutherans are going to start praying the Rosary (though we should… it’s a cool practice) — what I’m saying is that maybe we should work together and help each other out spiritually. After all, we’re all “working out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” according to Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:12b to be exact).
So… let’s attempt to be friends. I don’t want to have to write a parody of “The Farmer and the Cowman” from “Oklahoma” talking about getting along though maybe I should post that tomorrow. 🙂