Some time back, my sister asked what my confirmation verse is. I don’t know, nor have I found anything written down confirming that I received one. Today’s Psalmody, 116:12-19, would be very appropriate. (Note – of all things, this is the same selection of verses as for my birthday, November 13). What could I ever give to the Lord that He has not given to me first? Well, besides my sin, that is. He did not give me that. And, as I consider what I have withheld from Him that He first gave me… there’s a lot of it. But He renders to me all the more
+ in the Cup of Salvation which contains the blood that purifies me from those sins
+ and in the Name I call upon, the Name which is a strong tower, the Name in which I am baptized and by which I am absolved.
As He has called me to make vows at my ordination, I am sent to proclaim the precious nature of the death of His saints, that His people no longer be afraid of the one who holds the power of death, that is, the Devil. For through the precious death of His Son, the Lord has loosened my bondage to sin, and loosened my tongue. Seriously. When Pastor Rauschek asked a young acolyte one Sunday morning about 23 years ago if I had ever thought about being a pastor, I thought he had no idea what he was saying. (Actually I would have thought he was crazy. But sixth grade boys who think their pastor is right next to Jesus in holiness never accuse their pastor of being crazy.) If I were to be a pastor, that would mean I would have to stand in front of people and speak. What in the world would I say? I take great comfort in seeing the prophets who thought the same thing when God called them. No temptation comes upon me except that which is common to all.
But the God who is faithful to them is faithful to us. The Lord loosened my bondage to fear of speaking. Still does. Saying the wrong thing – or even the right thing in the wrong way – is a debilitating fear. But Jesus still appears behind doors locked for fear.
“I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.”
Luther’s Sacristy Prayer
Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word. Use me as Your instrument -- but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.
There is also this thought. Make sure to read Pastor Fast’s comment.