President Matt Harrison at Concordia chapel

I’m still on a high from last week’s beautiful installation service at the chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. I even re-played the service off of the LCMS web site this morning. It should probably be mentioned that many of the folks affiliated with both seminaries were particularly pleased with the installation of President Matt Harrison. Under the previous administration, there were rumblings of merging the two seminaries. President Harrison wants the synod to increase its support of the seminaries, particularly for foreign students. I don’t exaggerate at all when I say some professors and their wives were literally dancing at the party after the installation. Although I suppose that could have just been because of the awesome music.

In any case, guess who snuck into chapel services at the seminary today!

This blog post from a seminarian begins with a confession that he doesn’t always make time for chapel:

So for me it is a reminder from the Law, but also a great blessing from the Lord to have a Synodical President make room in his schedule to attend chapel at the seminary. He was in “civilian dress,” that is to say he was not wearing an attire to draw attention to either his elected position or pastoral office, except for what looked like a “keycard” type lanyard. And he sat in the back. It’s likely fair to say that he “snuck in.” I don’t think he was here on any official business.

And so I’m probably violating his unspoken desire to NOT draw attention to himself, but I thought it was worth letting others know that we have a synodical president who is not too busy for the seminary (seminaries – we just happen to be closer to Kirkwood, I guess), and not too busy to hear the Word and to receive the Lord’s body and blood in the Sacrament with us.

So nice to read this.


Comments

President Matt Harrison at Concordia chapel — 32 Comments

  1. Jim,

    I sure hope that the previous administration attended chapel services! I have no idea if they attended chapel services at the seminaries, though.

  2. I can’t answer to President Kieshnick, as he was elected after my time at the Sem, but Dr. Barry delighted in visiting both Seminaries when he had the chance, and we delighted in seeing him there.

  3. Indeed, Allen! Remember that wonderful evening that he spent with us a few days before our graduation? What a great send-off!

  4. Pastor Harrison posted earlier today that he and his exec. staff were going to take a little “time off” after a hectic six weeks leading up to thier installations. Now we know some of what he likes to do on his “days off.”

  5. An old-timer used to tell his wife, “If the pastor ever came to see me, I’d think that the world was going to end.”

    Accepting the call, I was at the hospital that evening of his surgery. He noticed.

    Little things like a low key presidential visit to campus speaks a word of care and mercy. That says a lot.

  6. @Anthony Bertram #7
    Nothing like getting the Word and Sacrament to provide the forgiveness of sins, since he has reminded us that he is a sinner too. Then getting fed with the Sacrements to strengthen for the long road ahead. Sounds like R&R as God designed it.

  7. “With us” yes, that is perhaps the best said. He was there with us. Not only did Rev. Fr. Harrison attend chapel, but he also found time to converse with the seminarians while waiting in line for lunch on Campus, and then also while eating on campus with us, with the community. Is it a sign of solidarity and support of the Seminary? Perhaps. Perhaps even more it is the reality of the Lutheran Theology and Spirituality that Rev. Fr. Harrison embodies. I know little of the man. However, I know from the sermons he preaches and the books he prepares that he is a man of deep faith, spirituality, knowledge, grace, and compassion.
    His being there with us reveals to me that he embodies the truth that in the Divine Service and before God at the rail we are all beggars no matter what office of vocation we hold.

  8. @Rev. Roger Sterle #15
    Curious–why do you call him Rev. Father when he is not a Catholic Priest?

    Let us not “get our knickers in a twist” over language taken from the Confessions even though it may/may not have been heard in “Amerika”!
    We have more important differences to iron out than that!

    Curious how so many are so allergic to a perceived “threat” from Roman Catholicism. (I heard it myself in my youth.) In fact we are in danger of being drowned in the ditch of generic american protestantism instead. Time to pay attention to what’s really happening! Roman Catholicism did not invent the host of aberrations we need to mend or provide us with the non Lutheran entertainers that have been so popular lately!

    If the seminarian had said, “Brother Matt”, I wonder how many (besides myself) would have blinked at it.

  9. @Rev. Allen Bergstrazer #4
    Hi Don, good to hear from you. Yes, I remember convocations and just seeing Dr. Barrry walking the halls of Wyneken; especially his visits not long after his wife had died, and when he too was struggling with cancer.

  10. The application of the title, “Father” to synodical corporate executives appears to ignore our Lord Jesus’ command in Matthew 23:9, or at least to eisegete it into some kind of pious opinion in the manner of Capt. Barbossa’s interpretation of the pirates’ code of parlay: “More what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”

  11. Carl Vehse :The application of the title, “Father” to synodical corporate executives appears to ignore our Lord Jesus’ command in Matthew 23:9, or at least to eisegete it into some kind of pious opinion in the manner of Capt. Barbossa’s interpretation of the pirates’ code of parlay: “More what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”

    Nonsense. Look to the context of Matt. 23- speaking out against the Scribes and Pharisees. And then look to, e.g., verse 10:

    “And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.”

    Call anyone a teacher recently?

    “Isn’t it contrary to Matthew 23:9 to call a priest or minister “Father”?

    If followed literally, Matthew 23:9 forbids the use of the title even for biological fathers. In an article in the October 17, 1939, Lutheran Witness, [Arthur Carl] Piepkorn wrote: “‘Father’ as a form of address for a clergyman is neither unscriptural nor un-Lutheran nor exclusively Roman. The usage is based on such passages as 1 Cor. 4:14,17; 1 Tim. 1:2,18; 2:1; Titus 1:4; 1 John 2:1; 3:l8. It has been in use not only in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in the Protestant Episcopal, Orthodox, and Far Eastern Churches, as well as in the Lutheran Church.” Examples he gave included the Finnish Lutheran Church (bappi) and the Norwegian Lutheran Church (far, dialect for fader). Martin Luther was called “Father” thoughout his life, including on his deathbed. “The Titles of a Clergyman: II,” Lutheran Witness, LVIII:21, 360.”

  12. Hmm, on the other hand, maybe that’s why Synod uses the term

    Minister of Religion – Commissioned

    for teachers, lest they run afoul of Matt 23:10. 😉

  13. Why not just call him what he is-“”President” Harrison, “Reverend” Harrison, or some combination thereof? I read he does not have a doctorate (maybe honorary-I do not know), so the title “Dr. Harrison” is probably out……

  14. In Matt 23:10 Jesus used the Greek word, kathegetes, whereas NT writers elsewhere referred to a learned teacher using some form of the Greek word, didaskalos.

  15. If followed literally, Matthew 23:9 forbids the use of the title even for biological fathers.

    In the Scriptural context of v.9, our Lord’s command to “call no man father” refers to the honorific title not being used for the disciples he was with as well as other religious leaders of his Christian followers, and by implication by people in the Church today as titles for their pastors. That others, even Lutherans, have not obeyed God’s Word should not relieve us of the desire to follow Jesus’ command.

    The usage is based on such passages as 1 Cor. 4:14,17; 1 Tim. 1:2,18; 2:1; Titus 1:4; 1 John 2:1; 3:18.

    If only these verses contained the word, “Father” (except in referring to God the Father), or commanded or even hinted that the honorific title of “Father” should be used in addressing clergy by those reading the verses. But, as you know, these verses do not.

  16. Didn’t (you) indicate that this website would be closed down if, your man, President Harrison, was elected?

    (( “you” added by moderator ))

  17. JRB,

    I am not sure what you are referring to?

    This is what we have always said about this site and is our basic editorial philosophy. This site is the blog arm of The Brothers of John the Steadfast. We post blogs related to our goals (see the “Organization Page” for details). The election of synod president was ripe with the goals of this organization and that is why there was a lot of time devoted to it.

    Also, this is a blog site. It serves to bring a lot of good (and if you ask some – some not so good) publicity to the organization.

    I hope that helps. We have never said it would shut down.

    TR

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