ST. JOHN LUTHERAN CHURCH
(The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod)
A family united by faith in Christ gathering around God's Word and Sacraments.
To reach out in Christ-like concern and Christ-borne love to each other and to those without Christ!
In This Month's
St. John Witness
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (I Timothy 3:1)
Lutheran Ordination. This is the sacred rite to set aside and consecrate a man for the divine office of Holy Ministry. As I write this, I anticipate the ordination of Christian Schultz as the joyous conclusion of our 150th anniversary celebration here at St. John. It is a significant event for St. John, as well as for the ordained.
Although not in common practice today, prostration (lying before the altar) during ordination by the candidate was common in Martin Luther’s day. I love this story about God’s plan. RC Sproul tells it in his book Willing to Believe (Ligonier 2018).
“In 1505 Martin Luther entered the monastery in Erfurt. He was ordained in 1507 in the cathedral used by monks of the Augustinian order. When he was ordained, neither Luther nor anyone else knew what this event would mean for him, the church, or the world. It was an intersection of time destined to change the course of history forever. One hundred years earlier the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus had been burned at the stake for heresy. Hus said to the bishop who had ordered his execution, “You may cook this goose, but there will come a swan who will not be silenced.” Hus was making a play on words with this prediction. The name Hus in the Czech language means “goose.”
“The German people saw Luther as the fulfillment of Hus’s prophecy, as the incarnate swan who was to come.
“The circumstances of Luther’s ordination were marked by a double irony. When Luther prostrated himself with arms outstretched in the form of the cross, he was lying at the base of the altar. The floor was made of stone. The exact spot where Luther lay was marked by an inscription in the stone indicating who was buried directly beneath the spot: the very bishop who had ordered the execution of Jan Hus. It is a great temptation to revise history and ascribe to the bishop an appropriate response to Hus’s words that a swan would come. I would like to think the bishop replied, “Over my dead body!” Indeed it was over his dead body that the swan was ordained. Willing to Believe, Sproul (p. 48)
God’s work is eternal, and word remains true. Ordination vows are serious. Pastors are to proclaim the truth of God and show faithfulness to God’s will. As spokesmen for God, and servants to His people, pastors receive a calling that is noble. Our faith is to be clearly expressed, and faithfully shared. Like confirmation vows, ordination includes a promise to be faithful unto death. The prostration of the body is an outer sign of the complete servitude of the soul. God’s people serve the Lord Christ Jesus