20 October 2009

Duties of Members

St. Paul's constitution lists six duties of members of the parish. They are rather succinct:

Members shall:

1. Conform their lives to their baptismal vow.
2. Attend services faithfully and frequently partake of Holy Communion.
3. Engage in person private Bible Study.
4. Be active in personal evangelism.
5. Contribute willingly and according to his God-given ability toward the maintenance of church and school and the work of the church at large.
6. Bring up children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4) and to this end, besides teaching them the Christian faith at home, take advantage of all the Christian educational agencies for the children, so that all children may be properly guided in the Christian faith.

We reviewed these briefly last night in our elders meeting, and it occurred to me how wonderfully easy #3 has become with both the Treasury of Daily Prayer and The Lutheran Study Bible at hand. What riches God places before us in His Word!

The hardest is the first: that's the daily death of the old Adam and the daily rising of the new self, created in Christ. That we learn to live our lives more and more from the new self and continually reject and put to death the desires of the old self. It's a never ending task for us - and we'll never master the art of it so long as we live in this flesh, though we keep trying by the Holy Spirit's power and DO see some growth and progress.

Number two is also rather easy: how hard is it to come to Church and allow God to do His work in us through the preaching of His Gospel and the reception of His Sacrament? And through it we can certainly grow in glorifying the Blessed Trinity for the unspeakable kindness and love He shows us.

Number four gets some solid help in The Lutheran Study Bible. If you've not found it yet, check out the helps for witnessing found on page 1425 that uses the Apostles' Creed as a simple tool for growing in the art of sharing the faith.

Number five is positively addictive. The more you discover the blessing in giving, the more it becomes something you simply WANT to shape your life and to do. There is something incredibly empowering in refusing to let money and fear have dominion and in giving toward the Lord's work and mission.

Number six is addressed not only by using the Sunday School, the Vacation Bible School, and the Parish Day School and Preschool. It is above all addressed in that first assumption: in the home. Treasury again is your friend. A way to have a special time in the Word every day with your little ones. How I wish I had had it available when my kids were wee ones!

Anywho, I thought the list from our Constitution was a pretty good prescription for growth and maturation in the faith (dying to live, receiving God's Divine Service to us and glorifying Him, daily into the Word, watchful for confessing Christ's name, giving in alms and to support the Church, and providing for the next generation to receive the blessings we enjoy and even more), and I've been mega-impressed at the way our Synod has lately moved to provide solid materials for growth in all these areas. Faithful use of the Treasury and The Lutheran Study Bible will indeed yield a rich harvest for the Kingdom!


Rev. Allen Yount said...

Yes, we are truly blessed. Even though we are having difficulties (and what church body isn't?, we have been granted these wonderful resources that aid both lay people and clergy to delve into the lving and active Word of God. And that's what will revitalize and renew our Synod, not the advice of Blue Ribbon committees and such.

William Weedon said...

Perhaps, Pastor, even in spite of Blue Ribbon committees! :)

Stephen said...

You will have to forgive me but I just sent this blog to as many of my fellow parishioners as I have email addresses for and can reach. This is a truly wonderful post and I pray God uses it in our lives today (and tomorrow, and ...)


Father Robert Lyons said...

Pastor Weedon,

May I have your permission to adapt these as we prepare the founding documents of our own new local church plant?


Chris said...

Why is there nothing explicit about praying at home, like morning and evening prayers? I think that is more important than simply reading one or two chapters of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't have much of a parish left if you started excommunicating people for not living up to the standards in your constitution.

Rev. Allen Yount said...

Pr Weedon,
Amen to that!

Of course, daily prayer is important. Delving (not skimming) into the living and active Word of God (which should be preceded by praying for the Holy Spirit to give understanding) leads to prayer, which leads back to the Word of God, and so on. The Word of God is integrally woven into the fabric of daily prayer, not just in that many of the words in the liturgy of daily prayer are verbatim passages from the Word of God, but also that the Holy Spirit works through the Word to move one to pray.

William Weedon said...

Father, of course.

Chris, what Pr. Yount said. As we use the Treasury we pray the Word and from the Word.

Chris said...

I would never think that you, Fr. Weedon, would say prayer is unimportant, but we must be clear that there is a difference between reading Scripture and praying prayers such as the daily office, the texts of which are taken from Scripture directly oftentimes. People make the erroneous claim that because they are reading Scripture, they are praying when they are not. I read the Holy Fathers but that does not mean I am praying their prayers and such.

I think this would be a wonderful catechesis tool to encourage use of the old offices for daily use. You don't have to pray all of them, maybe one or two a day. You could recommend the Lutheran Brotherhood prayerbook which is similar to St. Dunstan's Psalter.

William Weedon said...


I could, but I think the Treasury (which also contains the Daily Offices) is far more accessible work for most of our members.

Sue said...

Thank you for sharing this. I plan to pass it on to my pastor and to the board of lay ministers at my church. I will also endeavor to live up to this every day, by His grace.