What’s a Pastor to do….What Should HIs People Expect of Him?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Each day you must sacrifice two lambs a year old, 39 one in the morning and one in the evening.
People of Israel, I will meet and speak with you there, and my shining glory will make the place holy. 44 Because of who I am, the tent will become sacred, and Aaron and his sons will become worthy to serve as my priests. 45 I will live among you as your God, 46 and you will know that I am the LORD your God, the one who rescued you from Egypt, so that I could live among you. Ex 29:38-39, 42–46. CEV
5 Our teachers assert that according to the Gospel the power of keys or the power of bishops is a power and command of God to preach the Gospel, to forgive and retain sins, and to administer and distribute the sacraments.
Ultimately speaking, a pastor/priest/bishop/deacon is nothing more than a sinner, who has been forgiven, He’s been tasked by God and the church with some simple things.
But there is so much more to do, than the things listed in the Augsburg Confession.
Which makes me wonder, how do we prioritize our time? Are the things listed in the Augsburg Confession still our priority? And in an era where the church in the United States is shrinking, shouldn’t we be trying to stem the losses, plan for the future, train up more leaders.
Are these things spoken about, preaching the gospel, forgiving sins, administering the sacraments, as out of date as the morning and evening sacrifices at the Tabernacle?
If we aren’t just “going through the motions” and doing what we’ve always done, because we always do it, these things are called to do can and will change, not only our church and community, but it will change the world. In order for that to happen, we have to see the real value in these tasks, we have to understand what God is empowering to happen as He leads us to do this.
That is where the Exodus readings come into play. The morning and evening sacrifices are, obviously, no longer needed. But they point to the lamb that would be slain for our sins and recalling that sacrifice every morning and evening is a good practice. One that lies behind Luther’s concept of remembering our baptism every morning and evening, remembering that we are united to Christ in His death and resurrection. Remembering that unity, so that we dwell in it, knowing our sins are forgiven, more importantly, depending on the Holy Spirit who guides, comforts and protects us and serves as the guarantee of God’s love, and His work in our lives.
Which gets to the second half of the reading, and this little phrase, “because of who I AM!” God’s identity changes everything. It makes sinners saints, It shatters the darkness with light, it makes buildings into sanctuaries (like it made the tent a tabernacle) and it makes pastors (priests, etc) worthy to serve in that role.
How can’t this all happen because of who God is? Simple, because God is with us. Because He dwells among us, we know He is God, our God, and is there for us – and that He rescues us for this very purpose.
His presence changes lives, not our logic and reason and 40 days of this and 50 days of that. It is our preaching the gospel, not just in the worship service, but as we visit people in their homes, or at the hospital. or in jail, all these things happen. As we help someone in our office, or who visits our home, these things happen.
This is what our people need to know we do, that this ministry is not Monday_thursay 8-5 and a half-day on Saturday and Sunday. Our people need to know that the gospel is available to them all the time, as is absolution, as are the sacraments.
It’s what we do…
Remind them that God is with them!
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 81.