Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV84).
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (1 Peter 2:17 NIV84).
Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:7-8 NIV84).
One can hardly consume news media these days without hearing or reading a well-deserved shout-out to medical professionals and first responders who are on the front lines of dealing with the health situation around the world. Oftentimes, they are doing so by working long hours with very sick patients and with inadequate supplies. Any kudos they receive are well-deserved.
Much has also been written about government authorities at all levels who work tirelessly to make the best decisions possible in these unprecedented times. Along with the verses above, earlier parts of 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13 have some poignant instructions for Christians in that regard.
Not to be missed amid this pandemic is the honor and respect due to pastors and other professional church workers—commissioned and lay—who are responding to these circumstances in heroic ways.
Pastors, along with commissioned and lay workers in congregations, are attempting to help people make sense of their lives during a time, unlike anything they have ever experienced—bringing a message of hope and peace, comforting those who mourn and laughing with those experiencing joy, even while maintaining a proper social distance. They have to make pastoral decisions about how best to deliver God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament to God’s people when the usual modes are precluded. Some of those decisions are not easy ones. Pastors and other church workers deserve our respect and honor.
And as I write this blog, my wife Rachel, a teacher in one of our Lutheran schools, is in the next room over in our home. She is working hard to teach her 4th graders’ language arts through electronic means, all the while pointing them to Jesus with encouragement from God’s Word. I see how much thought and care she’s putting into her work and know that there are many, many Lutheran teachers across our district and church body doing the same. These teachers are worthy of our respect and honor.
So during this Holy Week, as you worship God in ways you may not have anticipated a few months ago, please join me in giving thanks for pastors, teachers, and commissioned and lay workers in our churches and schools—and then reach out to them with some words of honor and respect.
A blessed Holy Week to you.
Rev. Dr. Jon Braunersreuther
Mission & Ministry Facilitator Area D