Ignore the picture – it really has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was nice.
One of the more interesting and endearing parts of my life has been my relationship with the LWML. The women of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League are dedicated to the task of supporting missions, and helping women to recognize not only the gifts they received because Jesus suffered on the cross and died for them, and rose again for their salvation, but also to recognize their corresponding gifts in the work that they do in their vocations in life. The reason this is on my mind this morning is that it’s the beginning of LWML convention time. Anyone who’s had anything to do with a convention knows how busy these times are. In all the preparation and all the “busyness” of the days and weeks ahead, one little phrase keeps popping out in my correspondence with different LWML’ers – “Pray for me”. There is a concomitant to that as well. How often I’ve heard the phrase, “I’ll be praying for you”.
The other day when I was at the hospital visiting someone the individual said to me “you’re always on call aren’t you?” I haven’t really thought about it for quite a while but that’s true. Pastors are, or should be “on-call” 24 hours a day. But guess what the non-Pastor portion of our congregations should be “on-call” 24 hours a day too. Luther has an interesting portion of a sermon in which he tells his congregation in Wittenberg just that. Preaching on Matthew 28, the passage that most of us think about is being the “excommunication passage”, he tells the congregation that they are people who are called daily to speak on Christ’s behalf.
“Here Jesus is saying that he does not only want the condemnation of sin and the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins to take place in the church, but he also gives this right and freedom where two or three are gathered together, so that among them the comfort and the forgiveness of sins may be proclaimed and pronounced. He pours out his forgiveness even more richly and places the forgiveness of sins for them in every corner, so that they not only find the forgiveness of sins in the congregation but also at home in their houses, in the fields and gardens, wherever one of them comes to another in search of comfort and deliverance. It shall be at my disposal when I am troubled and sorry, in tribulation and vulnerable, when I need something, and whatever hour and time it may be. There is not always a sermon being given publicly in the church, so when my brother or neighbor comes to me, I am to lay my troubles before my neighbor and ask for comfort. Again I should comfort others and say, “dear friend, dear brother, why don’t you lay aside your burdens. It is certainly not God’s will that you experience the suffering. God had his son die for you so that you do not sorrow but rejoice”