Participating in the Political Processes of Our Synod
It’s easy enough to become cynical about church politics, especially when politics in general have become so mind-numbingly tedious and wearisome. Besides, it is most certainly true that the Church actually lives as the Church, not in human political processes, but in the Sanctuary, that is, in the preaching and administration of the Gospel – from the Pulpit, at the Font, and at the Lord’s Altar. So, too, our actual church fellowship as members of the Body of Christ comprises a shared catechesis and confession of Christ’s Word and a common participation in His Means of Grace. And as such, our synod fellowship is most practically and tangibly engaged and exercised in the mutual conversation and consolation of brother pastors and sister congregations locally, within our circuits, as we work and play, worship and pray together.
So, yes, human political procedures can seem extraneous to that actual life and fellowship of the Church, perhaps pointless at best, and sometimes worse. Yet, for all that, as the Lord is with us and does His work among us through earthly ways and means – through the earthen vessels of water, bread and wine, and men of frail flesh and blood – so does He accomplish His purposes through His people in the arrangements they have worked out together in freedom and in love. That is not to equate synod politics with the Ministry of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, but it is to say that the Lord does work with and through and for His people under the Cross, in the midst of much frailty and weakness, even in spite of our inadequacies and shortcomings.
Let us not grow weary or cynical in working together as brothers in Christ, especially in the catechesis and confession of His Word and in pastoral care for one another, but so also in our practical and political life as members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. To that end, in particular, I would ask that you take note of the need for each parish to have a pastor and lay voter registered for the election of our synod president in advance of this summer’s convention; the deadline for getting that done is the 19th. of this month. Also important is the submission of annual statistical reports and the updating of information on lay leaders in each congregation. Having dealt with these things myself for many years, I realize they can seem irksome and incidental to the life of the Church, but they are beneficial to our life together as a synod.