From the chair:
“And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
I confess, I didn’t really want to head back out into the world to attend our church business meeting last night. That said, once we got there, it was striking to sit and listen and look over the ballot for elders and deacons and think about being part of such a heritage.
Being new to the church, I didn’t know many of the candidates personally. I trust the people that the congregation nominated, that the leaders recommended. This morning, I was reminded why: Because we are committing these elders to the Lord. Now, sure, people (e.g., elders) sin. The Church blows it, all the time. Yet, 2,000 years ago in Asia Minor, they committed these elders to the Lord, and the Church still stands today.
Congratulations, elders. We’re doing our best to choose leaders wisely, and we’ve commended you as faithful. We don’t know, we can’t ensure, we haven’t yet seen whether you will be faithful, but we know that God will be faithful. Whatever happens to this congregation, we know that God will sustain and grow his Church, and we join in with joy. We commit you–and ourselves–to the Lord.
From the desk:
“This is the great ‘five-one’ impulse of the law and the gospel. As a dominant seventh played as the penultimate chord in a piece of music leans toward and wants to capitulate to the tonic, so the declaration of the law leans toward the inevitability of grace and wants to capitulate to its resolving power.”
-Clayton J. Schmit, “What Comes Next?” in Performance in Preaching (eds. Childers and Schmit), p.185
Whether you’re musical or not, you probably know that “unresolved” feeling. Certain chords just beg for what comes next. Schmit points out that, in the same way, judgment is unresolved until we hear the grace that comes through Jesus Christ. Like composers, preachers should not delay this resolution without good reason, and should not fear going back and back and back again to that timeless desire for God’s favor, programmed into our very DNA.
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.