". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Time to Take Time

Some years down the road, God willing, we in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will be looking back on this day, remembering where we were when Rev. Matthew Harrison was elected thirteenth president of the LCMS and sharing our memories of that pivotal moment when our church body was plucked off the slope of dissolution and placed on the path of healing.

So, let's practice. Here's my story. After a morning of leading music at Vacation Bible School, I returned home and had lunch with my children. I did a few chores and then shortly before the presidential election was scheduled to begin settled down in front of the computer to watch the live stream of the convention. I could hardly sit still. My hands were shaking, my stomach jumping. I closed my eyes, put my face in my hands, and said a whispered prayer. Then the phone rang. It was my husband, who is not a delegate but is attending the convention for the purpose of observing, reporting, disseminating information, and assisting the confessional effort in whatever way he can.

I didn't have to look at the caller I.D. to know it was him. I picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Are you watching?"

As soon as I heard his voice I started to cry.

"Yes," I replied, my voice catching.

"Are you praying?"


"Okay, it's time."

I realized as I heard the proceedings coming through my phone that the "live" stream was actually not live but a few seconds behind. So I turned down the volume on my computer and waited for my husband to break the news.

"They're voting," he said. "Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy."

Silence, as we waited for the end of the 8-second voting window.

Then . . .

"And Harrison wins! The next president of the LCMS is Matt Harrison!" This wasn't shouted. My husband was in the convention hall and restraint was called for. But I knew he was shouting with joy on the inside.

I couldn't believe it. "Really? He won?" Sobbing, I ran to the top of the stairs, phone still in hand, and called my son. "TREVOR! Pastor Harrison won!" (I would have called my teenage daughter, too, but she was at a friend's house for the afternoon.)

Trevor joined me upstairs and we sat together at my laptop, watching and waiting as our president-elect made his way towards the podium with his wife. As Trevor hugged me, I said a quick goodbye to my husband with a promise to talk later, and Trevor and I watched this incredible acceptance speech (speech begins at the 3-minute mark):

If that speech is any indication of the seriousness, humility, and cross-focused leadership that President Harrison intends to bring to his new calling, we may actually be able to chart that course for unifying our fractured synod. May God bless the LCMS and its new shepherd, Rev. Matthew Harrison, and may all of us who have been saying "It's Time" for these last many months now be willing to tell one another to "Take Time" as we turn our eyes to the future and watch and pray for healing.

So, what were you doing on July 13, 2010, at 2:42 p.m.?


Jenn said...

I was watching it on live stream. Then I screamed YESSSSS!!! A little too loud. I woke up the Baby. Whoops! YESSSS!!! :) :) :)


Elephantschild said...

I was in Cate's living room with Susan, Deirdre, and Erin. Cate's iPhone pinged a message coming in, and she picked it up and looked at it. She smiled, and said, "It's Harrison. He won."

And we all jumped up and started screaming. One of the little kids got kind of worried and asked if we were ok.

But we didn't hug, because hey, we're Lutheran.

Then we all gathered around Cate's kitchen counter top and turned on the live stream in time to watch Mrs. Kieschnick say her farewells.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Great post, Cheryl, and congrats on IE Blog of the Week!

I was sitting in front of my laptop with the same knots in my stomach as you were experiencing. My wife was across the room watching in front of her computer. I had that sick feeling that things weren't going to go our way.

Then, my cell rang and it was Larry, our circuit's lay delegate and a member of our congregation. He said, "Pastor, I just want you to know that I am very optimistic that 'It's Time.'" "Really?" I asked. "Are you sure, Larry?" "I'm not sure, but very optimistic," he said. "But, I gotta run, they're getting ready to start."

I told Lisa, my wife, what Larry said and she said, "Quit worrying. It is Time!" (but I didn't put much stock in that, since she is perpetually optimistic about such things). Anyway, there I sat, glued to the screen, anxious as all get out.

Then, they went through that torturous practice, which seemed like forever. Oh, the pain! Get on with it, already!

Then, it happened, they cast the votes and the screen went blank for a minute. I said one final prayer, "Lord, please let it be time!" And there were the results. Unbelievable! Could it be?!

Lisa screamed and I, overwhelmed with a rush of emotion I haven't felt since my last child was born, instantly broke into tears of joy. I sat there sobbing like a baby for the next several minutes, wiping those tears of joy from my face all through our new President-elect's most gracious and humble speech.

I've had a smile on my face ever since. And, you are right, I will never forget where I was or how I felt when I witnessed this historic election unfold before my eyes.

So, there you go - hey, you asked! :)

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the congrats, Pastor, and for sharing your story. You're right, I asked! And did you notice how similar our stories are? I'm thinking there was probably a lot of sitting in front of computers and breaking into tears going on Tuesday afternoon!

edie said...

Congrats on being Issues blog of the week! I'm enjoying reading your blog and see that we have some things in common---homeschooling and confessional Lutheranism. I can't wait to read more of your homeschooling posts.
My husband was a delegate to the convention so the girls and I were sitting at the back of assembly in Houston at the historic moment. It was utterly amazing and I'm thankful my littles got to witness it! We definitely had tears of joy!
So nice to meet you,

Cheryl said...

Edie, I just checked out your blog. It is beautiful! I'll be back. Thanks for reading! By the way, are you familiar with Martin Loopers, a homeschooling Lutheran listserv? If not, you need to join us!