By Pastor Andy, online only*
THE MOST DIFFICULT TASK facing every Christian minister is not one of his or her regular responsibilities. Many parishioners likely think it could be among the several tasks expected of most ordained clergy, like: having to come up with a new sermon every Sunday, or conducting the funeral of a much-beloved member, especially that of a first born, or praying over the critically ill.
But none of these “expected” responsibilities says what I believe to be the most difficult task of every minister of the 21st century, namely: proclaiming the Prophetic Word when it may well be rejected.
So, since about 1960, we have not heard many clergy proclaim from their pulpits the Biblically applied Word. A few have tried, but their messages were either rejected outright or spoken so softly they were not really heard.
I have been among the guilty, I confess. But my reasons have not been so unworthy, I say, as I strive for redemption. I was married for over forty years and had five children to raise and support through many of those years. When I accepted the attendant responsibilities of a family man. I had no doubt that God expected me to fulfill them. And when faced with the possibility of being fired for having loudly applied the Truth of the Word to contemporary issues, to do so always carried with it the possibility of my losing my ability to support my family.
Such is understandable, and I do not condemn the ministers who have not spoken the Prophetic Word loudly and clearly when it seems to have been required.
But, however justified, remaining silent or speaking the Word too softly is still an excuse. The Word has not been proclaimed and even when preached powerfully, has often gone unheard.
The people in the pews have, I believe, an even more unacceptable excuse for they have too often rejected the Power in the True Word when it has made them uncomfortable or seemed to go against the local attitudes and beliefs that have come to hold. So, angry church members have warned preachers time and again, “Don’t mix politics and religion! For if you do, we will make you pay."
The consequences have been tragic, not just for Christendom but for a world starving to hear, know, and accept the Truth. The Truth has not been preached. Our world is not free,.
I must do better. We must do better. The Truth must be proclaimed so powerfully that it will be heard, and not be treated lightly, as though it were just one opinion among many.
We Christians have heard the teachings of Jesus and those of the great prophets, but we have not heard them rightly applied.
For example, there is absolutely no question that the God we know in Christ is foremost for the poor and downtrodden, and for them regardless of their race, religion or national origin.
Also, in Christ we know that violence and retaliation are never worthy of the genuine Christian life.
And we know in Christ that we are being asked, we persons of the cloth in particular, to proclaim the Good News with passion, and always with love.
Which means to me a total rejection of the bad and everything that is unloving; such as:
- The abhorrent, unchistlike public demonstration that took place in W DC n January 6, 2021; .
- Failure to speak up for any individual who is being treated unjustly.Indeed, we ministers and other Christian leadersit is being demanded of us by our faith to denounce the unbridled pursuit of wealth and success. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
- The Truth, by definition, demands that church laity allow their ministers to proclaim the Gospel without fear of retribution.
Online only, faith2023.net. Our aim is to followup with onsite Worship videos every Sunday.