Monday, March 15, 2010

My Last Name Is...

Part of my family is in town this week, so I figured I'd briefly post about family.

Call it God's law. Call it love toward your neighbor. Call it the table of duties. Call it vocation. Whatever you call it we are put into relation to other people. We are placed into an "office" (an established position in which God works) and we are to carry out the duties of that office in love and service. For example, I am placed into the office of "son" which means that I am to honor my father and mother and I am to love and respect them in all Godly decisions. I am a neighbor (to all mankind), thus I am in the office of "neighbor" and as such I am to (insert Luther's explanation for commandments 5-10).

I'm not sure how I am to entertain my family while they're here, but I guess I don't really have to do that. I need not worry about how to keep them excited while they're visiting. Why is this? Because God has placed me into an office in which I need only show love to them and they will be happy. They are happy that I spend time with them, that I provide for them and make them feel welcome in my (small apartment) home.

That is the freedom of vocation. And vocation is really the freedom we have in the forgiveness of sins. When God brings to me forgiveness, I am free from the oppression of the law, to abide by the law knowing that because of Christ my sin is blotted out and the law has no power to condemn, but only to guide me. That is, the law now put in it's proper place now serves to benefit both myself and particularly my neighbor by teaching me the good and right will of God. Again with forgiveness in Christ Jesus, I now can love and serve my God, father, mother, brothers and sisters without the fear of condemnation.

Familial vocation, founded on God's forgiveness, is truly freeing.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Watchmen of the Church

How can I preach the whole counsel of God?

I am a 25 year old man. God willing, I'll be either 26 or 27 when I am ordained. I'll preach around 75 sermons each year, give or take. Let's say God grants me a situation where I am with the same congregation 40 years and I retire at 67. Let's do the math 75x40= 3,000 sermons. Not a bad number.

Looking at this week's pericope and context for Lent 3 Series C, the OT text is from Ezekiel 33:7-20. Particularly focus on these words from verse 7, as I believe, they apply to the pastor very distinctly.
So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
The words here and the words from 33:1-6 echo what was said to Ezekiel in 3:16-21.

But how can I do this? Of all the sins that are in the world. How can I possibly preach on them all? How can I give warning to men about transgressing the whole Law of God where he has given "a word from His mouth"? I have only 3,000 sermons and that only if I am at that congregation for 40 years that those particular people might hear the whole counsel of of what God warns them about. How might they know of every sin that is harmful to them that they are committing?

Alas, I think that it is not possible.

However, I think there is hope in Christ Jesus, for he has put an end to sin. As the pericopes guide the Pastor to faithfully preach Christ, they do not necessarily lend themselves well to preach against sins that are everywhere in society and that people can easily fall into. Yet, it is that faithful preaching of Christ that ultimately is triumphant. As sins are denounced and declared forgiven since they were shouldered by Christ himself, we are made anew.

A good tree bears good fruit, says Matthew. A good tree bears good fruit. The daily recognition that we are sinners, sinful people until the day we die, carries us in a cycle of repentance and forgiveness. A daily drowning of the Old Man and rising of the New Man. As forgiven men and women, we do walk in righteousness before our God and are being renewed daily by the Holy Spirit working through His Word to keep us from sin and live a God pleasing life, even against sins that, perhaps, the pastor has not preached upon.

I'd like to think that the Holy Spirit is more powerful than my preaching. I'd like to believe that His Word regenerates the hearts of man through the forgiveness of sins and leads them to lead a new life, even when I can't warn them of every sin out there.

God have mercy on me as I speak Your Word. Let me be a faithful servant.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Month

It is a new month. March is here. The sun was out today, and the first signs of "spring" are here. Apparently, being up north a couple winters has driven me to see even slightly above freezing temperatures as the end of winter and the coming of spring.

This is going to be a good month and my tie on this first-day has set the theme. I have a lot going on this month. A friend is coming this weekend, and part of my family in two weeks. It's going to be fun.

Have a good month everyone.

+Kyrie Eleison+