Indonesia, Luther Academy, and GKLI

Revs. Charles Henrickson and Daniel Preus present for Luther Academy to Indonesian pastors on the topic of “The Two Kingdoms.”

My trip to Indonesia for discussions between the LCMS and the Gereja Kristen Luther Indonesia (GKLI) – Indonesian Christian Lutheran Church corresponded with a Luther Academy event on the two kingdoms in Medan. This fortuitous correspondence allowed Rev Daniel Preus, the fourth vice-president of the LCMS, to participate in the discussions with the GKLI. The GKLI began in 1965 as a breakaway from the Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (HKBP) – Protestant Christian Batak Church. The GKLI has the Augsburg Confession as the basis of its confession.

Presentation of greetings and presentation of gifts from the LCMS to Bishop Aladin and the GKLI.

Mr. Darin Storkson, Dr. Albert Collver, Bishop Aladin, Rev. Daniel Preus, Rev. Charles Henrickson are pictured after receiving the traditional Indonesian gift for prosperity, the ulos.

A plaque commemorating the occasion of our visit.

Matins was used for worship, including the Te Deum in Indonesian.

Discussions continued on Saturday.

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jalan Sisingamangaraja,Medan,Indonesia

Around Medan — Houses of Worship

With the call to prayer from a muezzin at a nearby mosque awaking us from sleep before sunrise, we had an early breakfast around 6 am and then the opportunity to go around Medan on a becak (a cycle rickshaw). Although becaks are banned by law in Jakarta, they are quite popular in Medan (and in the slums of Jakarta). Riding through Medan on a becak is a great way to experience Medan, see the sites, and smell the city.

Darin Storkson, Regional Director of the South Asia Region, negotiates with the becak driver for transport around Medan.

Medan has few places that would be called tourist attractions. Most of the buildings of colonial Dutch architecture have either fallen into disrepair or have been torn down to make room for modern buildings such as parking garages or malls. One of the most impressive buildings architecturally is the Great Mosque, which was our first stop.

Outside the gates of the Great Mosque, which was built in 1906. The domes are supposed to symbolize the vaults of heaven.

The minaret is the tallest part of the mosque. Historically, the minaret developed in the 7th century to put mosques on pair with the bell towers of Christian churches.

Collver stands outside the mosque in Medan. Nearby the mosque is a cemetery, which is not a common occurrence. After visiting the mosque, we stopped at the St. Mary Cathedral.

Medan was established as an Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in 1961.

The side of the cathedral in Medan.

A statue of the Virgin Mary above the entryway to the cathedral.

The sanctuary adorned for Lent.

The crucifixion of Jesus portrayed in the sanctuary.

Inside the hymnal of the Medan archdiocese is Lutheran pastor, Paul Gerhardt’s hymn, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunded,” (“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”) in Indonesian. The title in Indonesian reads, “O Bloody Head.” A small Lutheran influence on the Roman Catholic church.

Tomorrow, we will look at the Lutheran church in North Sumatra (Medan).

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jalan Sisingamangaraja,Medan,Indonesia

WMLT in Indonesia

Rev. Nelson (HKBP) with Dr. Collver

Last evening we, Mr. Darin Storkson and myself, had the opportunity to meet informally with Rev. Nelson Siregar of the Protestant Batak Christian Church (HKBP) in Medan, Indonesia. Rev. Nelson is the Head of the Diakonia Department for the HKBP. I first met Rev. Nelson on a trip to Indonesia in 2006 after the tsunami that killed 200,000 people. At the time LCMS World Relief and Human Care began a project with Rev. Nelson and the HKBP to assist people affected by the tsunami and a subsequent earthquake in JoJakarta. Now Regional Director of South Asia, Mr. Darin Storkson was instrumental in forming these connections. We presently are in Indonesia to forge stronger connections between the LCMS and other Lutheran Churches here.

Last evening was a good opportunity to strengthen connections with Rev. Nelson, who is very appreciative of the LCMS emphasis on Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jalan Sisingamangaraja,Medan,Indonesia

Medan Indonesia

Arrived in Medan, this morning from Singapore after a 20 hour flight (about 10,000 miles). Pictured above is the Polonia International Airport in Medan.

A panoramic photo from the 7th floor of the Grand Antares Hotel in Medan. The city of Medan began as a small village around 1590 by Guru Patimpus. It is named after Medina in Saudi Arabia. Medan is the capital of the North Sumatra province in Indonesia. Located on the northern coast, Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia (behind Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung), and the largest Indonesian city outside Java.

An interesting building viewed from my hotel room.

Approximately a half dozen mosques visible from my hotel window. Pictured above is the great mosque of Medan. A Muezzin calls the neighborhood to prayer five times a day over a loud speaker. Often times this call to pray will wake up you from sleep during the night.

It is the rainy season so it is very hot and humid this time of year. We will be meeting with various Lutheran leaders. More later.

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jalan Sisingamangaja, Medan, Indonesia

There Is Only One Life

What do you think of that statement?  There is only one life.  In some ways it sounds wrong.  Is this all there is?  Is our present life on this earth the only life we get? 

Many naturalists and secularists would agree.  Our natural, physical life here and now is all we know.  You are born, you live and you die.  Hopefully you can give your life some meaning and purpose by what you do, but don’t look for anything more.  This is all you get.  There is only one life. 

What’s the matter? Have I lost my faith?  No, not at all.  But I still say, there really is only one life.  You may be thinking that I am referring to a distinction between physical life and spiritual life.  Yes, but not entirely. 

You see, there is only one life, and that is the life God gives.  When you were conceived in your mother, your life was worked by God (Psalm 139:14f).  Every breath you take is a breath God gives you.  You are alive because of God. 

Yet we still die – life ends. “Sin pays off in death,” the Scripture says (Romans 6:23).  Death contradicts God’s work of life.   It even seems to have the last word, for we all die.  No one is excepted. 

In the face of this reality, the Scripture says of Jesus Christ:

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5). 

There is one life death could not destroy.  Oh, death thought it had Him (if we can speak of death thinking) when Christ was dead and buried.  But death could not hold the one who is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26).  God’s gift of life cannot be extinguished, for Jesus lives, and lives forever. 

Now Jesus promises,

“This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). 

There is only one life – this life, the life of Jesus Christ.  Knowing Him you have His life.  Anyone who does not have Jesus has no life (1 John 5:12).

“The thief,” Jesus says, “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10).

So, you see, there is only one life, the life God gives, the life that is ours in Jesus.  It begins now but continues forever. 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life;  he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24).

Eternal life is a present possession for the believer in Christ.  And when Christ returns, this eternal life will be revealed in the resurrection of the body. 

One more thing.  You probably already know that Jesus gives this life wherever people come together to hear His Word and to receive His body and blood.  But do you know anyone else who does not know or trust in Jesus?  Who is not close to Him?  Without Jesus, they have no life. 

You have this life.  Did you know you can give it away?  Tell them about it.  Tell them what you have.  Bring them into the worship of the Triune God where life is given.  For there is only one life.  His name is Jesus. 

Did you know that your congregation is a mission outpost?  A place where Jesus gives His life for you and for others?  You also are sent by God to bring life, to invite people you know to receive life in Jesus.  As Jesus promised,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25). 

So it’s true.  There is only one life – eternal life in Jesus.

+Herbert C. Mueller
First Vice President

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