“Tychicus.and Onesimus will tell you of everything that has taken place here... Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you... Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you... Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea , and to Nympha and the church in her house.” --- Colossians 4:7–15 (selected)
Have you ever wondered why Paul’s letters include lists of greetings at the end? Take, for instance, Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colosse. He spends eleven of the eighteen verses in chapter four greeting people. No theological points, no explanation of Old Testament texts; just the names of people saying hello, short pieces of advice (in 1 Timothy, Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine since he has an upset stomach. Ha!). Why weren’t these parts edited out so that we could just get the theological treatise?
Why? Because ministry—and theology—is about people. Remember, the Colossians are a church that Paul was called to for a time until the Lord called him away. He is remembering and greeting the Church in Colosse—the people of God who are the Body of Christ in that place.
Ministry and theology are about people. People gathered to receive God’s good gifts in Divine Service. People studying God’s Word for the wisdom to act righteously. People confessing their sins and then confessing what God has done despite their sin. People acted upon by God and sent to do what God directs.
It’s the same reason for the lists of names in the Old Testament book of Numbers. It’s the same reason for the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. It’s the same reason for the God worked and works through a broken and sinful people to somehow do his perfect will, and he caps it all off by breaking into our broken world so that his holiness and righteousness in Jesus Christ can sit beside us, and so that he could redeem people, through his death and resurrection.
I’ve been your pastor since September 22nd, 2013. Since then, we have celebrated (roughly) 1,950 Divine Services. Since then, the pastors of Trinity have baptized 214 babies at our altar and have seen 149 young people confirmed. I’ve been privileged to preach at 43 funerals and at 25 weddings. Those are the numbers, but simple numbers belie the fact that behind each and every number, there is a story—a congregation that gathered to celebrate the Divine Service, a family that sought baptism and pledged to raise their child in the faith, a young person taking an oath to be faithful to the Lord Jesus until death, a family gathered to remember the hope of the resurrection for someone dearly beloved.
Thank you, because it is a privilege and an honor to walk with many and to minister to you in your stories of faith for the time that the Lord has allowed.
Thank you, because you have ministered to me and to my family. You have walked with me, corrected and trained me, loved and cared for my family in our story of faith for the time that the Lord has allowed.
We (Pastor, Laura, Benjamin, Amos, and Josiah) are grateful beyond words for you.
Pastor Paul Muther
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Worship Sermons & Letters