Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pastor and Prayer, Joy

"Don’t Only Be The Way You Are". Presbyterian Outlook. September 24, 2004. Pg 19

Keywords: prayer, joy, Barth, charge, pastor

The following Charge to the Pastor was given by Thomas W. Currie, Dean, Union Theological Seminary/PCSE in Charlotte, NC to his son, Chris, as Christ was ordained July 25 at Covenant church in Charlotte.

I leave you with two citations from Karl Barth. The first is from his book, "Evangelical Theology." In it he says that the first and basic act of theological work, of being a minister of the Word and Sacrament, is to pray. Barth says that prayer is theological work, not just an act of piety because prayer is turning away from one’s own efforts and turning toward the God whose mysterious presence never leaves us just the way we are. To that extant, prayer is subversive of this world’s grim self-centeredness and is a witness to the deep comedy of Easter’s joy. So I charge you to pray as you study and pastor. I do not charge you to become good at it; I am not sure that is possible, or even desirable. But I do charge you to do it daily, in all its humbling, stumbling embarrassment and wonder. Pray.

And rejoice. Take joy in your work and in the life of the community of faith gathered in Calypso, NC…The Gospel is not preached or known except in embodied form. So love that community, the streets of that little town, its homes and people. And in their midst, something of the joy of the Gospel will become daily evident to you. In his discussion of the glory of God, Barth reflects on the glory of being called to be a minister, the splendor of studying theology and being a servant of the Word. "The theologian," he writes, "who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. Sulky faces, morose thoughts, and boring ways of speaking are intolerable (here). May God deliver us from (such) tedium."

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