I spent two days last week in dismal humidity teaching about the Augsburg Confession to a small but enthusiastic group of Lutherans from Marion Ohio. Currently I am drinking coffee and looking out at the mountains of Utah where I am resting in anticipation of the Higher Things conference held in Logan, beginning this afternoon. There I will speak to – I would guess – 40 or so high school kids on the topic of “God, Marriage and Sex: in that order.” Following that, I rush home and have a baptism Sunday while also preaching and giving the Holy Communion. Then during that week I will give communion to all of my shut-ins – about six, visit the widow of a man who passed away ten days ago and have the last make up of my Christian Doctrine class for those who need it anticipating membership since we will receive four new families on July 18. Then on the ninth if July I will travel to Texas to help as the LCMS delegates seek to make decisions which, arguably, will be the most important and potentially far reaching in a couple of decades.
Here is your question. Of all these tasks and obligations which is the least important. Think about it. OK. The answer is “drinking coffee” although I have heard that the salutary effects of that mild stimulant are greater than most of us had thought.
Seriously, we need to put the convention into perspective. Of all the things that the church does, and all the things that pastors do, attending conventions pales in comparison to teaching, preaching, baptizing, communing, consoling and the “mutual consolation of the brothers” as Luther says. 1000 years from now the gospel taught and proclaimed and sacraments administered will be praised by those who, at the feast of the lamb, credit them for their current blissful circumstances. And the 2010 Convention of the synod will be unremembered and unextolled.
Having said that, I believe that the convention, and many conventions, do play a role in making the ministry more or less possible. We can do things which encumber the word or make us frustrated, or divide us or distract us and we need to avoid that. And we can do things which energize us, potentially unite us and make us hopeful. I believe that we have the capacity at a convention to fulfill the prayer, “that thy word as becometh it may not be bound.” And if we can do that then the 8 days of heat and humidity in Houston may serve to awaken our synod to encourage pastors and congregations to do the things we all know are “the one thing needful.”
Pray for the delegates that they may elect good leaders and make good decisions that serve to further the church by focuses our attention on the Word and Sacraments of Christ.