Thirteen years ago today I was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry. It was an odd day, frankly. I was ordained, along with a dear friend of mine, at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. Stiegemeyer and I were being called as admission counselors at CTS. It was in the early months of President Wenthe’s tenure, and the need for students was great. He and I both agreed to stay and serve the seminary at a time when there was great need.
It was a great time, and yet an incredibly difficult time. We had both studied for pretty much our whole lives to be pastors, and here we were encouraging others to be pastors. We studied. We held up the gifts of God and the wonderful formation going on at CTS. But pointing others to the blessings and joy of the Holy Ministry while sitting on the sidelines was tough.
Today I got to have lunch with Scott at an Indian restaurant halfway between our two parishes. He was recently installed at a congregation in the Chicago area. Despite the fact that he is now from the dreaded land of Illinois, I’m thrilled to have him in the area. He and I have always excelled at Scheming, and frankly I am excited and slightly fearful of what might come of our proximity.
Heaven knows the Holy Ministry is sometimes a dark and dreary path. At least it appears that way. But there is great joy in being a doorkeeper in the house of God. We get to see God’s hidden works a little closer than many, and I am constantly amazed at the strange and peculiar ways that He is at work, forgiving our sins and drawing us into His mighty presence. It is also a great joy that there are so many kind and faithful brothers in office with which I am privileged to share the journey. I hope the next 13 years are as eventful as the first 13.
Well, maybe not…
It should be noted that in this photo of Stiegemeyer’s installation, I positioned myself as close to the exit as I could manage. It just always seems prudent when that many LCMS pastors get together in one place.