that’s my pastor!

A week ago Sunday, I was kneeling at the Communion rail with my niece Wilhelmina. She’s two. She’s opinionated, like her mother. She’s chatty, like her mother. She’s determined, like her . . . well, I think you see where I’m going with this.

She’s also very Lutheran, just like her mother. DSC_0098

And so it was no surprise, as she kneeled next to me at the Lord’s table, that when her dad, the pastor, came down the row of communicants with the Lord’s body, Willa whispered, like a tornado attempting to pass as a summer breeze, “THAT’S MY PASTOR!”

And then, to make sure I was listening, she poked me in the arm and said again, now pointing at him, “HEY, THAT’S MY PASTOR!”

Willa’s on to something.

She’s excited to see her pastor. She’s proud of him. She recognizes him when she sees him, and she wants everybody around her to know he’s there for her . . . even at inappropriate times of the Divine Service.

And I don’t think it’s because her mom’s been doing Pastor Appreciation Month flashcards with her at home.

It’s because she’s in and at church, because she knows what a pastor is and what he does, because she recognizes a good thing when she sees it.

If only we could all be like Willa.

It’s easy to be frustrated with our pastors, to critique and comment, to be short-tempered and annoyed.

{And we should judge what they teach and preach, but that means holding them to Scripture and to the exposition of it in the Lutheran Confessions and not to our own random set of standards, even though the latter is way easier and more fun because, as my Old Adam has found, breaking the Eighth Commandment usually is.}

But instead of that, what if we were actually supportive of our pastors, Willa style, instead?

We can let our pastors pastor us. We can make them our first phone call when the devil and the world throw trial and temptation our way, instead of our last.

We can encourage others in our congregations — heck, even those who aren’t — to speak to our pastors when they are confused or struggling or questioning.

We can pray for them: that the Lord would give them the courage to be faithful to Him and His Word, even when the culture and the world and our own are not.

We can remember that they are the Lord’s men in specific places and that, on the Judgement Day, they answer to Jesus about their spiritual care of us, their wandering, wooly sheep.

That is to say, we can give thanks for — even rejoice in — our pastors.

Probably to pretty much everyone’s chagrin, I am prone to using the overusing phrase, “Well, MY pastor says . . .”

{And it is often used in cases not unlike the “Well, Dad says you have to clean your room” of my childhood.}

But I’m realizing that when I say “my pastor,” I don’t just mean one of the two pastors at the church to which I belong. I really mean any of the pastors who have been theological fathers in Christ, from my confirmation, to my time at the seminary, to the pastor who married Chris and me.

And it’s quite the list.

And the things they’ve taught me? The questions they’ve answer? The garbled nonsense they’ve helped me process? The times they’ve pointed me back to Jesus?

Well, that list is even longer.

And I’m betting — although I’m going to break a limb jumping to conclusions some day — that the same is true for you.

So let’s be in church where Jesus promises to be for us.

Let’s listen to our pastors’ sermons, where the Word is at work.

Let’s let our pastors pastor us, where God uses His children to care for one another.

Let’s pray for our pastors, where the Lord hears and answers our pleadings on their behalf.

And let’s make sure our pastors are taken care of in return, able to support their family, mentally and physically strong, engaging life head-on.

And when the world and our friends and anybody else who happens to talk smack about church or Jesus or pastors or grace give us the what-for, let’s say with as much joy and exuberance as little Willa, practically shouting when she means to whisper, “Hey! That’s my pastor!”

2 thoughts on “that’s my pastor!

  1. I’ve been a pastor in LCMS for 51 years. I often recall the pastors off youth and their ways and style, but especially their teaching.

  2. A very good read – for those at the rail – and even the one’s we wish were – But perhaps it is all in the Lord’s time, not ours. We like a child, have been SENT with a clear message, of who is who and why …..

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