Reading time: two minutes.
If it’s Tuesday, we’re halfway through convention, and, oddly enough, I’m having a good time! Let me explain.
It’s my view that we’re not supposed to “understand” the nature of the Holy Trinity. Just as
Moses was supposed to be over-awed, overwhelmed and absolutely, 100% humbled and humiliated as he stood before the burning bush, I believe we’re neither to explain or even attempt to understand the paradoxical unity and diversity of the divine nature.
We’re supposed to say, “Wow!”
God’s invitation to me to join into fellowship with Him, Father, Son and Spirit, does the same thing to me. “Wow!” And to think that you and I (of all unlikely combinations!) share, together, in fellowship, the unity of the same Spirit, well, “Wow!”Over the past few years, I’ve spent a great deal of time exploring Ephesians chapter four as I continue to develop the topic of church worker wellness around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v. 3) sounds to me like a synodical convention.
Unity is given by God. It’s His nature, and our invitation into unity and fellowship with Him by the gift of His grace is a reality far more vast and profound than our diversity.
My first pre-seminary gig as an LCMS church employee was under synod President J. A. O. Preus. Since then, I’ve served under Presidents Bohlmann, Barry, Kuhn, Keischnick and Harrison. Some would say that list sounds like a litany of dissension, disagreement and disunity.
I try to remind myself that the other 99+% of the world’s Christian population would look at that collection of our leaders and recognize a tightly bound fellowship, gathered close together in a common confidence in the saving gospel of Jesus, an absolute reliance on the truth revealed in God’s inspired, infallible Word, a mutual cherishing of the Sacraments of the Church, and a shared hope in the promise of eternal life.
I like me a good slab of convention every once in a while. It’s the “Make every effort…” part of Ephesians 4:3. It’s hard work. It’s messy. I’ve found plenty to disagree with from both “sides” of every argument presented in convention since I first started paying attention in the late 70’s.
But I still enjoy (yes, enjoy) seeing the Church (and the church) in action. “Since we live by the Spirit,” which we do, the hard part is, “… let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Not easy. Takes humility. Takes a willingness to listen and to learn.
Mostly, it takes the Spirit Himself. I’m on the lookout this week in Milwaukee for the Spirit’s fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It’s sometimes in short supply in my own heart and at convention.
But thanks be to God, I always witness an abundant and ample supply of that fruit at convention, in spite of us.
Thanks for reading.