Call day is this Friday for LCMS seminarians. For those of you who don’t know, in the Missouri Synod, the church at large (seminaries, districts, local congregations working together) assigns pastors to their first congregation. Seminary chapels suddenly take on an air of the NFL Draft as each seminarian is called forward, told where they will be serving, and then shakes the hand of the commissioner…er…Synodical president. It is actually a pretty thrilling day…for everyone except the wife of these soon-to-be pastors. The sermon is typically given by one of the District Presidents. It is meant to convict, comfort, and inspire these fledgling soon-to-be pastors in some memorable way. All I remember from mine was the phrase, “You aren’t really going to pay attention to what I say today…” He nailed it. Anyhow, Lord willing, I will never be a District President. But, I do think it would be totally sweet to give a Call Day sermon! Mine, of course, would be a Top 5 List. And though I’ve only been called and ordained just shy of a decade, I do think there are some things that new pastors need to think about as they enter their first parish. Heck, I think this Top 5 might prove helpful for all pastors! So, I give you the Top 5 Words to New (and Veteran) Pastors…
As you may or may not know, Lent is starting up (Ash Wednesday is February 18th) and you know what that means…fasting! Yes! Who doesn’t love fasting? OK, so fasting isn’t exactly one of those things we get all geared up to do. Some of us avoid it altogether. I used to tell people that I fasted from fasting during Lent. HA! So witty! My poor wife has to listen to such jokes all the time. I assume her tears are from laughter. But, I digress…
It is that time of year again to set up for ourselves all kinds of unrealistic goals and expectations. With this Top 5 I thought I’d help pastors to this end. I actually do not think these “resolutions” are all that unrealistic. But, I do worry that most pastors are not actually doing these things. So, as a helpful reminder, here are the Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Pastors:
For my ears, this is the most wonderful time of the year! I am becoming quite a Christmas music snob in my age. I liked Christmas music before it was cool. (Can a hipster listen to Christmas music?) This is especially true in when it comes to Christmas hymns. Advent and Christmas hymns are some of the most beautiful, haunting, and theologically rigorous hymns we sing all year.
My first “Top 5” has been inspired by none other than one Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller. A number of years ago I had the privilege of attending one of his adult Bible classes with my grandmother-in-law (aka Oma). In that class, the good reverend was teaching on Luther’s Isaiah commentary, and he got stumped on a Latin phrase that he could not call to mind. In a moment of need, he turned to me, his brother pastor, for help with the phrase he was at a loss to find. But, much to my shame, I know very little Latin and was of no help to him whatsoever. As I left that class, I made a vow to myself: It was not to learn Latin (I’m not that smart), but rather, if ever Pastor Wolfmueller has a journal-turned-blog and I have the honor of being asked to contribute, I will make it up to him by writing a list of Latin words that every Lutheran should know. Here, then, for the inaugural “Top Five” are the “Top Five Latin Phrases Every Lutheran Should Know!”