We had One Job….
Devotional Thought of the Day:
49 One of them, named Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, said, “What fools you are! 50 Don’t you realize that it is better for you to let one man die for the people, instead of having the whole nation destroyed?” 51Actually, he did not say this of his own accord; rather, as he was High Priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish people, 52and not only for them, but also to bring together into one body all the scattered people of God. John 11:49-52
9 Without boasting, it is manifest that the Mass is observed among us with greater devotion and more earnestness than among our opponents.
7 Moreover, the people are instructed often and with great diligence concerning the holy sacrament, why it was instituted, and how it is to be used (namely, as a comfort for terrified consciences) in order that the people may be drawn to the Communion and Mass. The people are also given instruction about other false teachings concerning the sacrament.
2 Meanwhile no conspicuous changes have been made in the public ceremonies of the Mass, except that in certain places German hymns are sung in addition to the Latin responses for the instruction and exercise of the people.
3 After all, the chief purpose of all ceremonies is to teach the people what they need to know about Christ. (1)
Today Jesus might, at first glance, appear to be boring and not so exciting, but in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and charity, all the richness of love, faith and hope.
In the words of Caiaphas, I find some hope this morning.
He didn’t realize what he was doing, and yet, he pointed tho the cross of Christ, and our need for the death of Christ Jesus. He pointed to Jesus, who would die for all of us, to bring us together in one body, all of us scattered across the world, all of us scattered across time, all of us scattered across 42,000 denominations.
Sometimes we who preach and teach, are more like Caiaphas that we want to admit. We intended something else, and the Holy Spirit made it work just like it did with Caiaphas. We speak of Christ, we teach people what they need to know about Christ. They are drawn to the sacraments, they find in them the comfort and peace the world and their sin doesn’t offer.
We had one job, and our desire to astound people with knowledge, or convince them of our political position, our pragmatic superiority of mission, or even to give them a “lutheran (insert your own denominational/non-denominational tag) identity” twists the message, and imparts something extra. Something different that what should come out of our mouth did.
And we rejoice in God working, not at all realizing that we had one job, and only one, and we screwed it up.
We didn’t give them Jesus, that wasn’t our intent.
He came to them anyway! While we were patting ourselves on the back, praising each other for the job we did, and celebrating as if our sermon or blog, our podcast or summit was all our work.
Like Caiaphas, the Holy Spirit worked through us, and we didn’t see it, and let’s be honest, we might not have heard it.
This is one lesson that is taught over and over as I teach people about ministry. It is found in the section from the Augsburg Confession above. I bastardize it a little, changing the word on occasion to ministry, or pastoral care, or even life. And I change the word teach to the word give, so it ends up as,
The chief purpose of all ministry, all life, is to give/teach people what they need to know about Jesus.
There is our job, whether we are a pastor, a priest, someone who facilitates the response of people to God’s love (what we call worship leaders) or someone having coffee with a friend. They need to know Jesus, heck we need to know Him, and giving/teaching others about Him answers that need.
This is orthodoxy at its best – worshipping and giving glory to God for what He’s really done. What Pope Francis says, finding in him the treasures of charity and wisdom, the incredible love, faith, and hope.
That’s what we need…. that’s what we need to know about Jesus. More than anything.
We don’t have to be like Caiaphas, we can remind each other, encourage each other, pray for each other, and correct each other when we needed. All to accomplish our one job….
To give all people what they need to know about Jesus.
That He answers our prayer, “Lord, have mercy on us sinners”, by coming to us, cleansing us, and the Lord is with us! AMEN!
Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.
Pope Francis. A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. Ed. Alberto Rossa. New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013. Print.
Posted on January 17, 2017, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged grace, Holy Spirit, Luther, Lutheran Identity, minsitry, Pope Francis, Purpose of Christianity, the Mass. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.