a treasure chest

I started getting snobby about sermons in seventh grade.

My parents drove us an hour to an LCMS church one Sunday to hear a new, young pastor they’d read about in the newspaper.

And half of what he preached didn’t make sense.

So naturally, we went back.

And then back again. And pretty soon, we were driving there every week.

But every Sunday, we were also leaving church horribly confused.

We’d get into our blue Dodge minivan, trundle out of the parking lot, and then, almost in unison, ask each other, “Why does this pastor talk about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper ALL-THE-TIME?”

“Doesn’t he have anything else to talk about?” I’d ask. ” GEEEEEZ.”

“I don’t get it,” my dad would say.

“There’s got to be reason,” my mom would add. “We just can’t figure out what it is.”

Every Sunday. For weeks.

Baptism. The Lord’s Supper. Over and over again.

And every Sunday we struggled to figure out why his sermons were basically variations on the same two themes.

Then we stopped wondering and started getting annoyed.

“Seriously,” I’d say. “Does he need new material? Because I just feel like there’s a leeeeetle more out there than these two topics.”

“I still don’t get it,” my dad would say.

“There’s got to be a reason,” my mom would add. “There’s just go to be.”

Then we stopped being annoyed and got mad.

“Hello!” I’d grumble. “I’ve heard this sermon, like, 42 times now. I get it!”

“I don’t,” my dad would say.

“Well,” my mom would start and then fall silent.

And just when we got mad, it dawned on us.

He talked about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper all the time — not because he had nothing else to say — but because these were the things that mattered, the ways in which our Lord comes to and for us, the places where He is tangible and real and earthy, giving out His forgiveness and promises, won for us on the cross.

He wasn’t a vague God anymore, a nebulous Creator . . . out there somewhere.

He was Jesus for me and my mom and my dad right here, every Sunday, in the flesh.

Stuff was getting real.

And then our entire car ride home changed.

“Dude,” I would say. “We learned about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper today.”

“I get it!” my dad would yelp.

“Why have we never heard this before?” my mom would marvel.

It was, my dad believes, like a treasure chest had been opened, a big vault filled with priceless jewels that we had heard of but never seen.

I don’t want any Lutheran girl to have to wait until seventh grade to know why God’s gifts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are where He comes with forgiveness, the holy things that give shape to who we are as Christians, the very heartbeat of our life lived out under Christ’s cross.

And I don’t want any moms and dads to have to wait until they’re in their forties to hear it either.

So let’s talk about our Lord in the flesh, in the water, in the bread and wine today, every day.

A lot.

The treasure chest is open.

The vault is filled.

Let’s start talking about — rejoicing in — the jewels.


5 thoughts on “a treasure chest

  1. What a blessing your parents continued to attend the divine service. Sadly, many leave the church because of their confusion and not hearing what itchy ears want to hear. Rarely does any of those with confusion seek out the pastor for instruction. Instead, they walk out the door thinking the problem is the pastor and not their rejection of the Lord’s words.

  2. Well said. And, lest we forget, there is *another* delivery of God’s grace – Holy Absolution. It seems that Absolution – both corporate and private (individual) is the forgotten step-sister, but it is just as mush a part of the Christian life as the other two sacraments. I mention all three every week.

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