Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Not a Critical Event

In March of this year Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller posted these comments on his Wittenberg Trail blog. I've been carrying his list of not-critical events in my head ever since, waiting for the day when I would repost them, and that day is today. Rejoice with me, with Pastor Wolfmueller, and with all the Saints past and present in these not-critical events:
It has been synodically mandated and convention approved that, being Ablaze!(r), we are all supposed to be critical-eventing. I, on the other hand, have had a blessed year full of not-critical events.

Today I baptized a twelve-year-old girl, the granddaughter of a member of my congregation who is in hospice. She renounced the devil and all his ways, confessed the name of Jesus, and as we knelt together over the living room table, she was born-again in the waters of Holy Baptism. This was not a critical event.

Two weeks ago a dear saint, fighting with all her faith, broke through her depression, left her house for the first time in months, and drove to church. She was welcomed with joy, and welcomes the Lord's Word with joy. This was not a critical event.

A few days ago my wife and I learned, joy of joys, that we are expecting our fourth child. This was not a critical event. In eight months, if the Lord answers our prayers, our newborn baby will be marked with the cross and reborn in baptism. This will not be a critical event.

Last year I buried nine of the Lord's dear people. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we committed their bodies to the earth in the great hope of the resurrection of all flesh. With prayers and hymns and Scripture and sermon the Lord's people found solace that the same resurrection is for them. These were not critical events.

In the past few months my daughter lost a tooth, my son wore his first tie and learned the Lord's prayer, my baby said, “Dada.” These were not critical events.
A year ago I preached in the Lutheran Church of Serowe, Botswana, Africa, first in English, and then a sermon that was translated into Tshwana. We ate and drank the Lord's Body and Blood together. We traveled to the edge of the Kalahari and celebrated the Divine Service in a mud hut with families ravaged by AIDS. These were not critical events.

This Lent I passed out a chronology of the Passion Week to my Bible class. Many people, for the first time, understood the sequence of events in the last eight days of our Lord's life. The Scriptures were made clearer and their strength stronger. This was not a critical event. On Good Friday we gathered for three hours to sing and pray and reflect on the Lord's seven Words from the cross. Everyone was churched; everyone was profoundly affected. This was not a critical event.

Two small adult instructions meet at my congregation each week. We study the Catechism together. Ask and answer questions together, and pray. These are not critical events.

At least once a week I am at the hospital bedside, praying, singing hymns and Psalms and reading Scriptures. These, none of them, are critical events.

Our last Pastor's Circuit Meeting included the Lord's Supper, Bible Study, and a discussion of the secret fears of the pastor, the things that motivate us and tempt us away from sticking to the Lord's Word which is given to our office to preach. This was a profound conversation. This meeting was not a critical event.

Praise God for all of these not-critical events, and may He, in His grace, give us more.

Do you have any not-critical events that you would like to register...

Pastor Wolfmueller is the pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, CO, and co-host of Table Talk Radio.

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