Can you see the faces of millions of fathers and mothers of the faith of Israel preparing the Passover meal for their families over the past centuries? The gist of their time together occurs when the children ask "What do you mean by this observance?" (Exodus 12:26). Then the story is passed on, the story of God's great redemption of the people of Israel from the land of Egypt and bondage, the central feature of Israel's sacred history.
Don't you sometimes wish you were one of those two individuals who were walking to the town of Emmaus, recalling the sorrowful events of Jesus' execution? All of a sudden, another man joins the twosome. He listens to them. When they were done, he begins to pass on how the life of the crucified Messiah fits well within the teachings found in the books of Moses and the prophets (Luke 24:13-35).
The twosome next invite their friend into their home. They break bread with him as they speak together. And their eyes are "open." They now know who was with them. All is beginning to make sense as they share a meal with him. Luke notes that their hearts were "burning" as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them — and passed along what God has been accomplishing through these sacred events.
Think of the face of Mary sitting at the feet of the teacher, Jesus. Remember the face of Elijah handing his mantle to the one he has journeyed with, Elisha. Think of Paul mentoring young Timothy.
This issue zeros in on what I call the "Stewardship and Education of Leadership for Church Vocations and Laity." How are our leaders, both ordained and lay, passing on the gift of the gospel to others, both ordained and lay, so they can pass it on to others? We educate, we form faith, and we make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them all what Jesus Christ has taught us.
In this print and online issue:
We are still called to "pass it on" and make disciples of all nations as we serve God's gospel and mission in Christ through the various vocational calls God has given us to serve our neighbors in the church and world.
The question is: what will our forms of education and discipleship look like in the years to come? What will it look like at the national and regional levels? What will it look like in our local congregations?
William Decker is editor of Lutheran Partners and Lutheran Partners Online, Chicago, Illinois.
The ELCA study on genetics, titled "Genetics and Faith: Power, Choice, and Responsibility
," is an important resource for congregational use. The study is part of the process of developing a social statement on genetics. The first draft of the social statement will be available late this coming Winter.Green Retreat
Diaconal Minister Kim Winchell will lead a retreat called "Greening our Spirits, Greening our World" set for June 28-July 4, 2010, at the Casa del Sol Spirituality & Retreat Center, Ghost Ranch Retreat Center, Abiquiu, New Mexico. Register online at www.ghostranch.org
. Click on the link for Casa del Sol and find instructor's name in the drop down listing.
This article appeard in the September / October issue of Lutheran Partners (vol. 25, no. 5).