". . . 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)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Knowing Our Place

On Thursday and Friday of last week I was privileged to listen to over six hours of teaching by Rev. Dr. John W. Kleinig. Here's a link if you aren't familiar with him. The conference that I attended was sponsored by Doxology, a program of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod that provides retreats and instruction for both pastors and lay people. My husband was the conference musician, so the icing on the cake was spending a few days with him! (We are still living in separate states.) On a side note, the conference was capped by a celebration of Dr. Kleinig's ministry that included the presentation of a Festschrift in his honor. The Festschrift is entitled You, My People, Shall Be Holy and includes a hymn by the same name for which Phillip wrote the music and his friend Pastor Steven Starke wrote the words.

I wish I could summarize the entire two days for you in some kind of organized fashion. I can't. The theme of the conference was "Holding the Mystery of Faith with a Clear Conscience" and everything began and ended on that topic. But along the way there were a few points that especially stood out for me. One concerned the doctrine of vocation. As I write this, it seems like such a no-brainer. And yet it isn't, because it is one of the things that we human beings mess up over and over again. So many of our problems come when we ignore or try to go beyond the station or vocation to which God has called us. Think about it. When--

children try to act like grown-ups,
parents act like they don't have children,
unmarried people act like they're married,
married people act like they're single,
lay people act like pastors,
pastors act like politicians or CEO's,
a government ignores its Constitution,
someone without a medical license practices medicine,
someone under the influence of alcohol gets behind the wheel,
someone who hasn't read the instructions tries to use a power saw,
a weak person lifts something that is too heavy for him,
a poor person acts like he's rich,
a computer illiterate tries to repair his laptop,
a musician or athlete attempts a feat that is woefully beyond his capability, or
Adam decides he is as smart as God,

trouble happens. So much trouble. How much better things would go for us stupid humans if we would only accept and stay in our place. And not merely stay in it, but rejoice in it, because it is the work to which we have been called, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10).

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. ( 1 Cor. 7:17-23)

1 comment:

Shannon Baker said...

It sounds like an interesting series. I will check it out

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