The Pastor's Downward Trajectory

A pastor always plunges downward into the afflictions and dark-shadowy-sins of his flock - into the heart of his parishioners' tentatio. That is to say; the pastor's trajectory is not upward and onward, but always downward into the sufferings of his flock. And when the pastor is with his parishioners in their suffering at the bottom, there is no glory for the pastor - no medals, accolades, promotions, or prizes. But instead, at the bottom of suffering, there is only the glory of Christ who came for the sin-sick. Thus, a pastor is a true servant when he - at the bottom - has nothing to give, except Christ's Word and Sacraments: "In the stead and by the command of Jesus, I forgive you of all your sins. Take and eat... take and drink... for the forgiveness of your sins." And in a great irony, while speaking the glorious Gospel to his parishioners, the pastor hears glory in his own ears. He hears that Christ is not only for his sin-sick parishioners but 'for' sin-sick pastors as well. Christ is 'for' the inadequate, failing, and sinful pastor as well. Such is the nature of the ministry; such is the nature of the office.

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