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Acts 3:13-15; 17-19



"The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.


"And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out." (ESV)



Gregory the Great, Pastor 

3 September 2014

Being a parish pastor is impossible. Some years ago a close friend asked a question that involved points of pastoral care and how a faithful Lutheran pastor might handle those pastoral care issues. After some lengthy discussion about the issues, my friend said to me, "Pastor, your job is impossible. I don't see how you can convince people of the usefulness of what you are teaching. You are swimming upstream against all that the culture knows and prizes." Uh, huh. So what's new? Being a pastor is a tough job. But men are not called into the ministry because the job is cushy, but because the Lord has need of them. And even though we (far too often!) grumble and complain about how hard the work is, it is still the work of the Lord Jesus to which we have been called. When the Lord says, "Go," you better get on your horse and get going, or you will find yourself barfed up on some beach by a fish (Jonah). Famously, the prophets all declined the job when God calls them to preach to the people of their time. The leading bishops of the ancient church were sometimes kidnapped by their parishioners and consecrated into their office by force, because these men did not want the job of leading a parish. One can hardly blame them. Sometimes the sheep can be downright abusive of the shepherd.


The seminary professors that taught me all expressed how much they missed the parish, with a single exception. The exception was a man who said, "Oh, no, I would never want to be parish pastor. I don't really like people, actually." Yes, therein lies the rub; all those other people. The world would be just great without those other people cluttering up the place, wouldn't it?


Parishioners are not adversaries or competitors, but sheep, to be cared for and taken care of. No true shepherd abandons a sheep just because he falls into a ditch and gets all dirty, or gets annoyed with a lamb because it bleats noisily. The good shepherd must bear with the sheep and overlook their weaknesses and foibles. They need to be encouraged and loved by him, not excoriated. Certainly, the wolves dressed like sheep need to be rapped on the nose by the shepherd's staff, because they are predators in the sheepfold of the Lord. But the sheep need to be treated gently. And though all of those things seem impossible, it needs to be that way, because the Lord can do the impossible, even if your pastor can't.


Martin Luther


"Paul also teaches (Gal 4:12) by his example that pastors and bishops should take a fatherly and motherly attitude, not toward the ravenous wolves (Mt 7:15) but toward the miserable, misled, and erring sheep. They should bear patiently their weakness and fall and handle them with the utmost gentleness. Nor can they be called back onto the way by any other means, for a more severe rebuke is more likely to anger them or even drive them to despair rather than to bring them back to their senses."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 4.12

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.  Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


For all the deployed military personnel in our families, that the Lord would watch over them and keep them safe


For pleasant weather, that God our Father would bring the blessings of the earth to us in a plentiful harvest in pleasant Fall season


For children and teachers in schools everywhere, that the wonderment of open minds would seek joy in knowledge, understanding, and true wisdom
Art: Crucifixes  Uppsala Cathedral (medieval)

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Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057