On July 22nd, 37,000 Lutheran youth and youth leaders descended on New Orleans for "Jesus Justice Jazz", the theme of the 2009 ELCA youth gathering, according to a news release from the ELCA.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” said Mayor Ray Nagin to some of the volunteers who spread out to 200 separate work venues the first day.
“You’re welcome!" the volunteers responded.
“God is good!" the mayor said.
"All the time!" the volunteers shouted.
On Friday evening, the Lutherans came together at the Superdome for the opening ceremony, as bursts of dancing, spotlights, and bass notes drove deep through the crowd. A speaker, covered with tattoos and piercings, spoke “about God accepting people where they are in spite of the mistakes they’ve made.”
“That was the message that distinguished Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago,” he said. "Thank God for grace."
"There are millions of Christians out there suffering because they don’t feel God loves them. They’re dying to know they’re loved."
The official website of the ELCA is chock full of pictures, videos, news releases, and more. Here is a list of links for slightly less official views from participants.
St Mark’s of West Des Moines, The Lutheran Magazine, Women of the ELCA, Our Saviour’s of Naperville, Lord of Life of Maple Grove, Spiritualevity from suburban Philly, Elim Lutheran of Duluth, Lutheran Church of the Master of Coeur d’Alene, and Our Saviour and St. Jacobus of NY.