Servant Stories: Doing Justice, Loving Mercy, Walking Humbly with God
Devotions for Groups and Committees
These monthly devotions, written by members of the Lutheran Deaconess Conference and the Community of Lutheran Deacons, help us see how God’s servants live their lives. They also remind each of us of our call to live out the command in Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.”
Servant Stories invites us into deeper connection and conversation with God and with one another through hymns, Scripture, questions for reflection and discussion, prayer, and illustrations by Deaconess Judi Tyler. Enjoy perusing the online version of this devotional booklet below. Servant Stories is free and available for download in PDF format. You may download the entire booklet or select any of the monthly devotions below. A printed copy of the booklet is available from the LDA for a small fee. Contact [email protected] to request a printed copy be sent to you.
We hope Servant Stories will enrich your life of service and your community of faith as you act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Books by Karl E. Lutze
Karl Lutze was a pastor, theologian, teacher, writer, and visionary whose life was a testament to his faith and passion for social justice. On May 3, 2015, shortly before he died, Pastor Lutze was named an honorary deacon by the LDA. A prolific writer, Reverend Lutze authored seven books. With his wife Gail, he donated five of them to the LDA, which now offers them for sale. All proceeds support the LDA's ministries, specifically the LDA's Student Scholarship Fund.
Born in 1920 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Karl E. Lutze attended and graduated from Concordia Seminary-St. Louis, MO. He was ordained in 1945 as a Lutheran Pastor and for fifteen years, he served as Pastor to two African-American congregations in Oklahoma.
In 1959 the Lutzes moved to Valparaiso, IN and for the next 21 years, Pastor Lutze served in various capacities. He was on the staff and served as Executive Director of the Lutheran Human Relations Association of America for fifteen years. A member of the Valparaiso University faculty, Reverand Lutze coordinated an exchange program between VU and Miles College, an African American institution of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, in Birmingham, AL. During his tenure there, he also served as VU’s Director for Church Relations for ten years. After retiring from VU, he became the first Executive Director of the Association of Lutheran Older Adults.
Pastor Lutze was a charter member of several organizations, including the Tulsa Urban League, where he served two terms as President, and the Lutheran Church and Indian People, where he was their first president. He served for twelve years as a member of the National Indian Lutheran Board, and served for two terms as a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod’s Standing Committee on Human Care.
In the Valparaiso community, Pastor Lutze was a co-founder and long-time board member of Project Neighbors, a program which collaborates with and welcomes minority families making their home in Valparaiso. He served almost as board member of P.A.C.T. (Prisoners and Community Together) for nearly twelve years, and served on Valparaiso University’s President’s Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns. A strong supporter of the Lutheran Diaconal Association, he served as a board member.
Pastor Lutze was named Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology and “Honorary Alumnus” at Valparaiso University. He is the co-recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award and the University’s “Lumen Christi” Award for service. He also received the Andrew Schulze Award for his lifetime of work in human relations.
Pastor Lutze was the first recipient of the Association of Lutheran Older Adults “Celebrate and Serve” Award. Wheat Ridge Ministries honored him with its “Seeds of Hope” award. In 2013, he received a Doctor of Letters from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN.
Pastor Lutze has four sons — Peter, Stephen, Thomas and Mark. His first wife Esther died in 1994 and was named an Honorary Deaconess by the LDA during her final days in the hospital. Karl and Gail (Jones Blask) were married in 1996 and Gail added two more sons, Bradley and Christopher Blask. Together the Lutzes have 14 grandchildren. Karl passed away in 2015, and is survived by his wife, Gail.
Below is a list and description of his books. If you would like to purchase a book, please call the LDA at (219) 464-6925, or email [email protected].
Told through his own eyes, Reverend Karl Lutze, highlights the profound value of lifelong friendships during the civil rights movement while he was a professor at Valparaiso University. Into a Wider World insightfully invites us to reflect deeply about our own relationships, and is a wonderful read for individuals or groups.
In this book of vignettes, Reverend Karl Lutze pays tribute to those who have enriched his life and ministry through the years.
This collection of eighty-four soliloquy prayers by Reverend Karl Lutze invite the reader into conversations with God. They are ideal for both personal and community devotion.
These 28 meditative reflections on Karl Lutze’s conversations with God are useful for personal devotion, gatherings, and gifts.
Lutheran deaconesses love to sing! And now listeners worldwide can hear the beautiful voices of the Lutheran Deaconess Choir via online streaming.
Two of the Choir’s three compact discs, “Healing Songs” and “Songs of Justice and Peace,” recorded in 2003 and 2010, are downloadable and shareable through online streaming platforms. Streaming access to the third CD, “Servant Songs,” is coming soon.
Also featured on the streaming services is “A Winter Piano Meditation,” performed by Deaconess Dawn Riske, https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/thedeaconesschoir/winter-piano-meditations.
Giving Voice to the Diaconal Heart
These 17 songs in multiple musical styles share the message of God’s love and care through Christ. Selections include: “Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service,” “Beautiful Savior,” “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry,” “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise,” and “Lift High the Cross.”
Songs of Justice and Peace
Songs of Justice and Peace contains songs whose message lie at the heart of diaconal ministry: concern for those at the margins and a deep desire for all to know God’s peace. Selections include: “Peace, Perfect Peace,” “Freedom is Coming” (South Africa), “Herra Kädelläsi” (Finland), “The Lord Gives Justice: Psalm 146,” and “God of Every Servant Heart.”
Prayers for Wholeness
This album features 20 songs focusing on Christ’s healing and wholeness. Selections include: “Healer of Our Every Ill,” “Psalm 51: Create In Me,” “Precious Lord,” “It is Well with My Soul,” and “A Gaelic Blessing.”
Devotions available with purchase of CD.
The three Lutheran Deaconess Choir music collections are also available on CD for purchase from the LDA. CDs cost $10 each, and proceeds support scholarships and education/formation programs for deaconesses. The recordings were made possible by grants from the Valparaiso Project Foundation and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. To order a CD, call the LDA at (219) 464-6925 or email [email protected].
Additional musical selections by Deaconess Judi Tyler and Deaconess Dawn Riske are offered below.
Read about the rich history of LDA deaconess music at https://thelda.org/100-years-of-service-lord-whose-love-in-humble-service-a-brief-history-of-lutheran-deaconesses-and-music/.
Music by Deaconess Judi Tyler
Music by Deaconess Dawn Riske
The Litany below was written as part of a “Call for Hymns” put out by the Hymn Society of America.
Deaconess Dawn Riske of Saint Louis serves as Director of Music Ministries at Christ the King Parish in University City. She also teaches music at Our Lady of Guadalupe School. Her degrees in Music and Theology from Aquinas Institute and Valparaiso University provide a solid foundation upon which to build her ministry of music and liturgy. Directing choirs of all ages, planning liturgies, and leading music in worship provide her with a true sense of vocation. She treasures ecumenism and connecting with Latino faith communities through music. Dawn is a past Dean of the American Guild of Organists, serves as Director of the January Jubilee, and also appreciates the collegiality provided by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
Resources for Footwashing
Deaconesses and Deacons wash feet. It’s part of our diaconal service. Footwashing is often done on Maundy Thursday during holy week, but can be done other times, too. People are sometimes intimidated by footwashing. Below are two resources you can use for yourself or your congregation as you set up and plan for this ministry.
Guide: Footwashing Litany
Have a Deaconess/Deacon Sunday in Your Congregation
The LDA has written resources for you for personal use and in your congregation, listed below. We would like to tailor them to your needs. Please call the LDA at (219) 464-6925, and we will help you to figure out exactly what resources you might need.
Worship: Deaconess/Deacon Commemoration Sunday, Service of Healing and Wholeness, Litany for Footwashing
Deaconess/Deacon Document(s): Diaconal Litany
The Center and Gardens
The Center for Diaconal Ministry is a very versatile space. Some of its uses include:
- Reflection and Spiritual Direction
- Seminars for LDA students
- Community/campus meetings
- Events for the community—both in the Center and in the Christopher Gardens and Labyrinth
- LDA Offices
The Center for Diaconal Ministry is available for your group or organization! Please call 219-464-6925 for more information and reservations.
Given by Jay and Doris Christopher, the gardens offer a tranquil space to relax, reflect, or pray. In addition to the beautiful landscaping and greenery, the labyrinth—a patterned walkway designed to help center oneself, meditate, or pray–rounds out the serene setting. Although the labyrinth has traditions in Christianity, all people are welcome to walk its path.
We hope the garden brings you a moment of peace and reflection in a busy world.
The Christopher Gardens at the Center for Diaconal Ministry is available anytime. We invite you to experience and explore this quiet haven.
Caring for Church Staff
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you be in good health,
as it goes well with your soul.” – 3 John 2
Members of the Servant Ministry Support (SMS) Committee of the LDA Board of Directors are concerned about the health and well-being of pastors and church workers, and they invite others into a conversation about ways to support, encourage, and advocate for them.
Whether you are a member of a congregation’s staff or leadership team, or a concerned congregant, the SMS Committee would like to learn how your churches are caring for their workers, as well as listen for areas of need. Please complete and submit this form: https://form.jotform.com/240215164593049.
Further information will be shared as it becomes available. If you have questions, please contact Deaconess Edie Eickemeyer, an SMS Committee member, at [email protected].
To learn what pastors and other church workers are experiencing in today’s ministry environment, the SMS Committee invites you to:
- Read the Barna Group’s research at Excerpt: A Rapid Decline in Pastoral Security – Barna Group
- Visit Grace Place Wellness – Lutheran Church Extension Fund (lcef.org)