Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Confession

With youth comes also mountains of failures, indiscretions, and wildness.  Every Pastor probably goes through some sort of Rumspringa.  This period of running around is a time of some exploration when the individual tends to veer outside the carefully manicured paths of orthodoxy.  Perhaps some of you will demur and insist that you have always walked the straight and narrow.  I must confess that I have not always tread the path on which I walk today.

There was a time when my hair reached halfway down my back, when my glasses were small, round, darkly tinted John Lennon specs, and I was out to change the church -- or at least some of it.  I proudly used the words of the Worship Supplement 1969 and said with conviction:  "We are here because we are men..."  I tie dyed chasubles with tee shirts, used the green glass bottle as a cruet, and broke loaves of french bread.  I sang "Sons of God" and "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love."  I longed for jazz masses and folk songs and rock settings to blow folks my parents age completely out of the water.  In fact, the most attractive thing to me about the Missouri split was the chance to protest -- protest something, protest anything.

I have learned a few things, thank God.  And I have had some mighty fine teachers along the way.  Instead of dismissing my scraggly beaded visage and my rudeness, they taught me with words, with love, and with an example of churchmanship that has helped me become more than what I was.  Most of all they helped me end the wild streak and learn to listen to the Church -- the Church before me, before my time, and before even Missouri's beginning.

No one of substance expects piety to come with ordination or stature to be bestowed with a title.  These things come with time, with reading, with meditation, with the working out of it all, and with prayer.  So I speak as one with a past to those who have also come with a past.  The change that is good and salutary is not to become the rebel without a cause or for every cause, but the choice of submission to the Word of the Lord, to the wisdom of the Church, to the practice of the ages, and to faithfulness as the ultimate criteria for success.

There are some folks out there who did some running around but have never grown up.  There are some folks out there who have grown up more than I have.  There are some just beginning their time of running around and exploration.  Don't forget where you came from.  Don't run so far, you forget how to get home.


Pr. Kurt Hagen said...

Thank you for a wise and comforting post, for one who is still green as the grass but aspires to mature into a true confessional Lutheran shepherd. Very encouraging and steadying words.

ErnestO said...

Pastor Peters:

Your humility and love are precisely the graces which the people in your congregation can understand.