Serving in the Church

I’m getting a little bit of a jump start on the eNewsletter. As I write this particular introduction, it’s Friday, November 17 and I’m sitting at gate A45 in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport waiting for a flight to Louisville, Kentucky. I should probably be working on the sermon for this Sunday, because I don’t have very much of it completed. In fact, I only have a few paragraphs. The whole thing has been somewhat elusive to me this week. I’m sure it will come to me. God is good that way.

Anyway, I’m on my way to visit a congregation in Louisville, and it looks to be a promising time divided into two parts.

The overall effort will be to speak to a gathering of laypeople and pastors regarding Religious Liberty issues facing the Christian church in America. For the first part, I’ll be spending about an hour talking about the Two Kingdoms doctrine and taking questions. But then for the second part, we’ll shift gears significantly. Knowing that I’ve authored a few volumes on whisky, the gathering’s organizers have arranged for me to lead anyone who wants to stay for an extra-curricular whisky tasting.

What fun! Being smack dab in the middle of Bourbon country, I’m looking forward to the event.

This has stirred a thought.

As I sit here at gate A45 watching the masses pass by, I realize that while many are toting various things—suitcases, children, you name it—the fact is that all are toting something that’s invisible to the naked eye.

I’ll bet you thought I was going to say “the sinful nature” or something like that. Well, I wasn’t. And while you’re right, the sin nature is there, I was thinking of something else entirely.

Each person passing by, whether they realize it or not, is toting along gifts they’ve been given by God. This reminds me of Saint Peter’s words in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Pondering this further, it carries me back to a conversation I had with Deaconess Bielby a few days ago about certain things happening in our school—how we have so many wonderful volunteers serving in various capacities, all of whom make our Christian family a community and place of which we can be proud. But then as the conversation unfolded, we began to talk more about others in the parish who might have certain skills—gifts—that we could tap into for the sake of enhancing what we’re already doing. For example, I suggested that I’ve long wanted to see our students have a space in the building—perhaps a corner of our library—that was made to look like a newsroom, and the kids would participate in weekly newscasts to the rest of the school. But among other things, this would mean finding funds, a volunteer coordinator, and some staging volunteers. I can think of quite a few students who would truly learn and shine by doing something like this, but of course we’d need people with the right skills to help make it happen.

We also talked about topics like chess, quilting, and among other things, soap-making—all things that the kids might only have the opportunity to experience during special times like Lutheran Schools Week. I think we were both contemplating how these ideas might become more than that.

Now to bring the conversation back around to the people who are walking past me right now… Maybe you’re toting a special skill that you’d like to share with the school children, something that will serve to enhance God’s gracious care of the students in our midst, something that will make their time together here in our Christian family that much more edifying. The folks I’m preparing to go and visit called upon me in a way that I might expect, but at the same time, they were keen to another facet of my personality, and took a chance at asking if I’d be willing to share with them in a more light-hearted, fun, “Angels’ Portion” sort of way. And of course, because it’s something on the inside that I tote around to events like this, I was happy to oblige.

Anyway, if you can think of someone or some skill I should know about—something that could be shared with our students and families as an extra-curricular effort—let me know. We want to continue to make our school the best it can be.