The pastor’s of LCMS circuits get together on the monthly basis for worship, study and commiseration. The host is responsible for the worship and preaching. When it is my turn, as it was this month, I take it as an opportunity to preach to a unique audience. This is the text I preached.
When I say a unique audience the biggest thing I assume is a familiarity with certain texts and theological concepts. The second thing I assume is something of a contemplative practice by which I mean a willingness to examine the effects of our theological concepts played out in the lives of people. We all have these concepts. The difference is that pastors should be and usually are acquainted with theirs. And because they will be held responsible for those effects, they need to examine them in the light of scripture. That is what this sermon does. Which focuses on our lack of use of the law or God’s word of power.
Our Pastor’s circuit meetings always start with worship. The host, which this past week was St. Mark, is the presiding minister. Sometimes you get the previous Sunday sermon. Sometimes you get a recent “good one”. Since audience recognition is an important part of any sermon, I recognized that for me editing a sermon intended for the congregation for a group of pastors would often be just as much work as starting fresh. The second part of that is the topic to this group modifies itself. You can use a little more theological slang or shorthand for ideas. Your biblical allusions which make the sermon think and resonant don’t have to be quite as readily apparent. And what they are typically worrying about is a derivative of the congregational worries.
In this case the congregation might wonder how Christ works in their life or what is the purpose of the Christ. The simple answer is the forgiveness of sins. So you preach that pointing at word and sacrament. To the pastor’s group the worry might shift in a couple of ways: am I being faithful in that calling to preach, and does this really work especially with a flawed servant? In this specific case, are the numbers telling me I’m a loser or a heretic. The proclamation, if it works as I would hope, works as the law to call preachers to faithfulness in their preaching and works as the gospel to calm fears about its power and effectiveness as measured by simple worldly standards.
So, I didn’t record it. I wavered about posting it, but if you want to get a glimpse at a message for pastors. Take a read.