PARISH SERVANTS – 2017
When it comes right down to it Rich and I are just a couple of garden variety church workers, he an educator and me a pastor. As far as I am concerned those two ecclesiastical serving niches are vocationally about as good as it gets in the church. But neither is all that safe. As Martin Luther discovered life on the church’s front lines caught in the cross fire of opposing academic, political and institutional elements of society can be downright dangerous.
In the 1500s the Reformation’s “founder” found himself trapped between 1) schemes of Rome’s power brokers, 2) conflicting theologians past and present, 3) political ferment within the Holy Roman Empire (Worms was a political event as much as anything else) and 4) Emperor Charles V’s needed European unity as he faced the Muslim forces the gates of Vienna. No wonder the German monk’s best known hymn was about the importance of having a mighty fortress. .
So what does all that have to do with a couple of over-age-in-grade 21st century Lutheran parish servants sitting around drinking coffee at Starbucks in the early AM? Try this.
- Conflict is still alive between the 21st century equivalents of the 15th century’s four forces. Check them out.
- Rich and I (and thankfully many others) enlisted as soldiers of the cross for life. We don’t quit. We are still on duty as parish defenders and servants.
- In the historic LCMS ecclesiastical pecking order we see servants-of-the-servants-of God. Got that?
- As Ephesians 4:11 “pastors and teachers” we believe that as servants we out-rank today’s hierarchical equivalents of those 15th century anti-forces. I wonder, do they know that?
So what are Rich and I up to of a Saturday morning?
- We talk about doing all we can to answer the needs of God’s faithful people whether be individual, families or other Christian church folk.
- We are determined to do all we can to help the LCMS’s national organization return to itds of s of congregationhs. congregatiins s historic position of serving congregations rather than that congregations are seen as subservient to the synod.
As we chat we sometime talk about Luther’s observation (with some contemporary add-ons) that, “He who wants a perfect church (synod, parish, family, friend) plainly wants no church at all.”
While we feel that neither the LCMS nor our current parishes are perfect, this is for sure: they are ours. Flawed as they (we) are we’d move on from either in a minute – if we could find another any better. Until that day we will do all we can to support and be a blessing to the church to which we belong whether national or local. Or, is that which belongs to us? Can we talk?