Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Pastor's Daily Prayer (Part 11 of 13)

The Pastor's Daily Prayer
(paragraph 11 of 13)

The following paragraph comes from the Pastor's Daily Prayer from The Lutheran Agenda (c) 1941.  It has been slightly edited (thee's and thou's to you and yours) to make it sound a bit less archaic; nonetheless, some archaic terms have been retained for the sake of endearment of the original version.

Keep and preserve our whole Synod, its teachers and officers, true to your word. Cause the work of our Synod to grow. Guard and protect all members of Synod against sinful ambitions, dissension, and indifference in doctrine and practice. Bless all our institutions of learning—our prep schools and area Lutheran high schools, our colleges, seminaries, and universities. Accompany all missionaries on their dangerous ways, and help them to perform their work. Gather the elect from all nations into your holy Christian Church, and bring them at last into your Church Triumphant in heaven. 

While the church I serve, Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church is an individual congregation which strives to serve God's people in Novi and the surrounding area, we are also blessed to be part of a synod.  Synod is from a pair of Greek words which mean "walk together."  We are privileged to be part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (aka, WELS) which walks together, united in confession and in ministry.  We work together to prepare people to be pastors and teachers who will serve in pulpits and classrooms around our synod.  This is hard and expensive work done at our synod-supported schools (e.g., Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Martin Luther College, Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Luther Preparatory School) and in our congregational-supported schools (e.g., Huron Valley Lutheran High School).  We join together to send missionaries into distant lands, and we support them while they are there with our offerings.  We work together to publish confessional Lutheran resources through Northwestern Publishing House for the benefit of our members, both on a congregational level (e.g., Sunday School, VBS, etc.) and on a personal level (e.g, devotional sources, theological writings, etc...).

As noble as these goals are, they are only worthwhile as long as the synod remain true to God's word.  The history of the Christian Church is replete with stories of God's people who were enticed away from the truth by false teaching with appealed to sinful ears, drifted away from the truth due to apathy among God's people, or who simply abandoned God's word in rebellion.  Hopefully, no synod or group is so arrogant to think that they are immune to repeating the past.  Rather, we pray fervently that God would keep us and our church faithful by his gracious care.

There is also a temptation for a synod to think that the synod itself is a reason for its existence.  We end up being focused on ourselves, practically in terror of anyone who is "not us."  For this, we repent and resolve to proclaim God's truth to others--whether in our neighborhoods or around the world; whether they are a familiar or a strange culture.  What good is having God's truth if we don't proclaim it?  And if people are going to hear it, we must go to them instead of waiting for them to, somehow, miraculously stumble into our church on a Sunday morning.  The lost sheep do not find the Good Shepherd; he goes to find them.  And since the Church is his voice, we go, seek, proclaim, and invite.  And we pray God will bless it.

As we do this, God will gather his elect.  We rejoice that God is pleased to do this through us.  And we pray that, at last, the Church that meets here on earth will be gathered to the Church Triumphant in heaven where we will all rejoice in God's glory and grace forever.

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