I grew up in a Lutheran church with fairly traditional customs and traditions. I often heard words of judgment around topics of “drinking” from parents that possessed a fairly narrow and rigid view of any topics around alcohol beverages. College was my time to rebel finding pleasure in the ample supplies of beer newly available. Post college, I settled into the occasional enjoyment of a good beer consumed at an appropriate time. I have my favorites – Summit Saga IPA, Surly Furious, and newly discovered Alaskan Amber Ale. I enjoy a walk up to the local pub with a friend for a beer and conversation. Turns out beer does not by its nature open the door to things ruinous.
Monday night, I experienced something new. My son-in-law pastor of Advent Lutheran Church has begun an occasional night of Hymns and Beers. Members of the congregation, along with any new comers, gather at Right Brain Brewery for an hour of hearty hymn signing and socializing with a glass of beer in hand. Not all come and it hasn’t been without questioners, but a crowd of young and old were on hand this Monday evening to grab a beer from the brewery’s custom collection of fine microbrews and enjoy each others’ company all while signing out their favorite hymns.
There is no doubt alcohol can have its problems and that churches can be rigid and judgmental, but seems this mix of beers and hymns offers a healthy way of bringing people together to enjoy each others company while signing out their favorite hymns in the presence of a loving God.