[Welsne_teach] Epiphany 2

Phil Hirsch MANHATTANHOPE at msn.com
Fri Jan 17 10:09:13 CST 2020


"Look!"

You don't say it all the time or else it loses its effect.  But when the object that has to be seen simply has to be looked at, it almost pushes itself out of you--this need to blurt, "Look!"

John had become something of a phenomenon, out there in the wilderness, doing a repentance baptism.  "Who are you?" the leaders of the LORD's covenant people asked.

He knew.  He answered clearly.

The circle of humans around you is living and moving and having their being, pushed and pulled through their days.  And along comes you, dear child of God.  You're a phenomenon, a new creation, salt, light in a time and place that surely isn't technologically or economically dark, but surely is dark regarding life and meaning and consciousness and truth.  You don't need to draw attention to yourself; you don't need to stand on the corners or around the flagpoles, calling attention to yourself as you live and move and have your being.  You just live, dead to the old gods, dead to your old gods, dead to the culture's old god, dead to yourself as god and alive to God in Christ. And, as such, as Christ's salt and light in this dark world, you are a phenomenon, a new creation.

And I bet it's happened: they ask, "Who are you?"

You know.  You get to answer clearly.

John was not the Christ, he said.  In his time and place, they were waiting for such a One.  Who isn't waiting for such a One today?  The hero myth is alive and well.  Someone has to save us--from this, they think.  And sometimes say.  But, what's the "this" from which they need to be saved?

"Look!" said John.  And he pointed to the Incarnate Word of God, the One and Only Who is at the Hidden God's side and Who was tenting among them at that time. The historicity of the personage that is Jesus Christ matters; He's not only legendary, the invention of the humans, the casting of their best ideas onto the canvas of consciousness.  "Look!" said John.  There He was!  The Lamb, a term deeply loaded with Hebrew theological history, freight and meaning.  The living, breathing creature that showed up, literally, at the center of each Hebrew family's existence once a year.  And then was ritually killed and its real, warm blood flowed out.

"Who takes away the sin of the cosmos."  This Lamb to which John was pointing had far more to accomplish than being the center of a meal--for its own sake.  To take away the world's sin.  John knew who he was because he, by the Spirit's work, knew Who Jesus is.  So he pointed the oh-so-pious Hebrews of his day out of their own sincere and well-intentioned and so often Biblical thoughts about God to the Incarnate Word, to the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

"Look!" you Lutheran teachers have been saying in the classroom.  "Look!" you, dear reader, have been saying to a friend in the slough of despond.  "Look!" you pastors preach.  To what do you direct the looker?

To your words, loaded with the Incarnate Word at the center.  To the font, where the human is buried with the Incarnate Word.  To the Supper, where the Incarnate Word promises to be Really Present in, with and under the bread and wine.  There!  There, you lift up and away from everything else the eyes and the heart of the lost, the ignorant, the oh-so-pious, yet oh-so-desperate because all that piety only drives the oh-so-pious farther and farther down.  Away from all the false gods and to the true God where He chooses to reveal Himself.  That's repentance talk, isn't it?  Away from.  And to.  Away from all the fake gods.  And to the true God, the Incarnate Word at the center of the Written Word and present in humble words out of human lips and present in water and promise and present in, with and under bread and wine.

"Look!  The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!  For you, too!"

In our prayers
-Eileen Smith (daughter of Pastor Bob Smith of Redeemer, Hastings, NE) who is in ICU in Omaha after complications with her new kidney.

Installation
-Mike Vogel at Lord of Life, Thornton, CO on Sunday, February 16

Decision Announced
-Justin Vilski of Prince of Peace, Salt Lake City chose to continue serving there, declining to serve in Thiensville, WI.
-Benjy Wells of NELHS chose to serve at Arizona Lutheran Academy in Phoenix.

Pastors Deliberating
-John Koester, of Gethsemane, Omaha to Aurora, IL
-Joel Sutton (governed by the 1 LA team whose chair is Tim Westendorf) of Mexico to TILM in Nampa, ID

Lutheran Teachers Deliberating
-Mike Paulsen of St. Paul's, Norfolk, NE to Wyoming, MI
-Corey Pederson of Gethsemane, Omaha to Belle Plaine, MN

Retirements
-David Schultz of Faith in Rising City at the end of the school year
-Mark Voss of Christ Our Redeemer, Aurora, CO 7/31/20

Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Pastor

-Shepherd of Peace, Norfolk, NE to Zachary Pudlo of W St. Paul, MN.

-Christ, Beatrice and St. Paul's, Plymouth, NE to Tim Berg of Rapid City, SD.

-Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE to Paul Workentine of Roanoke, VA.  Tom Schneider from Christ in Grand Island, NE is serving the vacancy.

-Mt. Olive, Overland Park, KS will Call again 1/19.   Jake Jenswold of Rock of Ages, KC is helping with the vacancy.

-Trinity, Winner, SD to Gerhardt Juergens of Tappan, ND.

-Faith in Rising City, NE will meet soon for pre-Call meeting.

-Christ Our Redeemer, Aurora, CO will meet 2/9 for pre-Call meeting and then Call 2/16.


Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Lutheran Teacher

-Zion, Denver will Call again 2/2.

-St. Mark, Salina, KS to Caty Waggoner of Zion, IL for a preschool teacher.

-NELHS to Jon Ross of Doral, FL for Math teacher.

-NELHS will Call soon for either English or Spanish.

-Gethsemane, Omaha will Call for 3-4th teacher 1/26.

-Trinity, Waco will Call for upper grades teacher and Principal Saturday, 1/18.


Re-alignment?

-The leaders of Zion, Bonesteel, SD and St. Paul, Naper NE and Beautiful Savior, O'Neill, NE (and the chairman of St. Paul's, Norfolk) met to discuss the potential of forming a tri-parish last Wednesday.


Upcoming
-January 21-23, 2020--National Leadership Conference in Chicago (in place of annual Missionaries' Conference this year).  Info at: www.lutheranleadership.com<https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lutheranleadership.com&data=02%7C01%7C%7C4954a65bf82742db880b08d795e98610%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637142702523540208&sdata=n8noru7hHT4SJxpvumt8ujWqGuUaxLzqp1XTeNMwNnE%3D&reserved=0>.
-June 1-3, 2020 the Nebraska District Convention at Estes Park Center

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