Good Shepherd Stories

You’re invited…to experience tradition

Being raised outside of the Lutheran Church, Chris Lester deeply values liturgy.
For those of us who have grown up in a Lutheran church, liturgy becomes habitual. Communion, the Lord’s Prayer and the benediction feel routine, or even redundant. Chris Lester, however, values these traditions.

Growing up in an evangelical church, Lester did not experience liturgical celebrations like Advent, Christmas and Easter until he attended a Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, California. During the service, Lester kept hearing, “Pay attention. Listen. Learn.” After that service, he believed that churches needed to use traditions from the past to be effective in the present.

“When you cut yourself off from the previous 2000 years of church history, you’ve cut yourself off from the conversation that Christians have been having amongst each other about what it means to be in relationship to the Divine and in relationship to each other.”

Lester brought his musical talents and appreciation for religious tradition to Good Shepherd’s conversation in 2016. While he started attending worship services in Madison out of convenience, he heard that each service had a unique style. He enjoyed Verona’s style and became a regular at the evening service. When a music position opened with Echoes of Grace, he transitioned to the 10:30 a.m. service. There, he was welcomed by people like Tracy Dahl and Stephanie Christensen.

Lester has been using his voice with them ever since. Lester says he has not only appreciated Dahl and Christensen’s voices at Good Shepherd, but also all the voices which came before him.

“All of these different voices throughout history have these perspectives that are each limited, but each contained wisdom that we can draw from.”

And by raising our voices, by sharing our perspectives, Lester thinks we can grow closer to God and each other.

“The way that you show honor and respect for God is by showing honor and respect for other people, particularly for the marginalized and the disadvantaged.”

Lester says we must show honor and respect, even to those we disagree with. In his eyes, disagreement is not always a bad thing. While he did not agree with the evangelical church’s practices, he found joy in tradition. He found Good Shepherd. Now, he hopes to offer others the same grace he has received here and from God.

“We are called to extend grace to others, not on the basis of what they deserve, but on the basis that they are created in God’s image. We are called to love as we have been loved.”

Photo by Melanie Renee

1 Comment

  1. Judy Liliensiek on May 3, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for sharing.