Friday, July 26, 2013
We can wait. . .
The hall was filled with people who wanted to speak. Some of them even had something to say. Many of them were filled with a sense of urgency and passion as they made their way to the microphone. I have a few things to say, too, but I am not sure much of what is said at a mic at a church convention moves many of the folks sitting there. Most of my speaking was in huddled corner conversations. If you watched, you did not see me at the mic. I did not expect you would.
Urgency and passion are good and in short supply in our church body. They are often the virtues of the young and the old have grown more reticent and even complacent. Every church group should have a mix of both. Yet I know the Kingdom of God will neither come nor be prevented by the actions taken by our church body assembled in convention. It is not that the business there is not important. It is. It all has its place. But I have learned to appreciate the longer view.
Was it Thielicke who said the one who has the final victory can endure the next few minutes? I think it was, anyway. There is great wisdom there. The Church does not move quickly enough for youth and moves way too fast for the aged. That will never change. I think that some of the votes were significant and I appreciate the importance of some of the resolutions. I think we elected a good crew and I have more confidence in my LCMS national leadership than I have had for a while. But... at the same time, the LCMS will neither make the Kingdom come or keep it from coming. The Lord of the Church works through the means of grace and He accomplishes His purpose where that Gospel is purely preached and the Gospel rightly administered. The normal place where this happens is not in convention halls (though I would have had us receive the Lord's body and blood there every morning if I had my way!). The usual place is where two or three or hundreds are gathered in the Lord's name, on the Lord's day, around the Word and Table of the Lord.
We can and should act. As Luther said, "something must be dared in the name of Christ!" But we must never lose sight of how the Kingdom comes. And we ought not disdain the patient perspective of faith that waits upon the Lord even while doing what the Lord has bidden us do in His name. We have the final victory. We can endure the next few minutes, the next few hours, the next few days...
As the Christians we come praying "Thy will be done" even as we pray "Thy kingdom come." We know the outcome of the faith, we have the final victory, we can make it through the ups and downs of this moment. God willing. God help us. Amen.