This week I was in Fort Wayne for the vicarage placement service. My brother-in-law, Jon Dickmander, was receiving his vicarage placement. He was assigned to Peace with Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO under Pastor Ralph Patrick. They were all very excited to receive this assignment and we are excited for them. It was nice to see Jon and his wife “perk up” like flowers that needed a little watering. Seminary life for a family with four children is much more challenging than it was for me as a single guy. Single life has its challenges, but it seems like life as a married student with children is much more taxing emotionally, physically, and economically. I’m glad that he has made it this far.
Highlights of the week included, among other things, three great sermons, two of which were from chapel and one from the vicarage placement service. Usually, the law tends to predominate in vicarage and call placement sermons. Preachers seem to pull out of a ready made handbook of new-pastor cliches: “Love your people;” “They have to know how much you care before they care how much you know…” “Don’t be a bull in a China shop…” Blah, blah, blah…
THIS sermon, on the other hand, preached by none other than Pr. David Fleming, was very fitting for the occasion, and yet proclaimed the Gospel in a refreshing way. Fleming, as well as Peter Cage earlier that day in chapel, focused on St. Mark, Evangelist and brought great comfort to me and no doubt to others in their treatment of Mark. Dr. Rast had a good sermon on Monday in chapel too. I was refreshed and invigorated. My thanks to all of them for their preaching.
All in all it was a good week. I love going back to the sem to visit and see old friends and acquaintances. It was good for my wife as well to see friends and family, mom and dad, brother and sister. I had intended to pick up a seminary student publication, but couldn’t find one. So I will not be able to provide a commentary on it as I had hoped.
I also had the opportunity to pray Morning Prayer from the Brotherhood Prayer Book at Redeemer Monday morning and had an enjoyable conversation with a good friend and mentor Pastor Petersen, who never fails to deliver when it comes to advice for the ministry, comfort under the cross, or just good, old fashioned humor.
Now it is back to the beloved duty of preparing sermons, teaching the Faith, and standing in the midst of the congregation, as Jesus did on Easter night, and saying to those huddled in fear on account of guilt, those who are in sorrow and grief over death and illness, and to say: “Peace be with you.”
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
P.S. If you haven’t seen them, you ought to try to get hold of some of the recent publications by LCMS World Relief: Human Care. Matthew Harrison has apparently been influential in getting these little gems published. The one I am reading right now is: “On the Duties of Ministers of the Church” by Johann Gerhard, translated by Richard Dinda. Some of the other titles in the series include: “The Church’s Role of Mercy in the Community” by Matthew Harrison; “On Almsgiving” by Martin Chemnitz; “Fight, work, and pray! Luther on the Lord’s Supper and care for the Needy;” “All become one Cake: A sermon on the Lord’s Supper” by Martin Luther; “Ordinance of a common Chest” by Martin Luther, and “One Loving God: Two Hands–Saving and Caring” a paper of the Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations of the Lutheran Church of Australia. I haven’t read all of these, but they looked promising. We live here amongst many poor and needy, and it is good to find literature dealing with this topic and the role of the Church and her ministers.