18 months ago, I wrote on my experiences with the Koinonia Project. I have also offered a couple of observations in the interim. I have seen very little else about it. I suppose this means I have probably written more extensively than anyone not working at the Home Office. Of course, I write as an observer and participant, not as someone setting forth policy.
Today I head back to work on Koinonia. But having already met with the pastors in Metropolis, they are now on their way to Smallville. They should be arriving today. It’s only an hour from my place, so I can relax, pack this morning, and then take off at my leisure, rather than last time when I was driving my ABSOLUTELY-NOT-BAD-WEATHER-FRIENDLY-CAR through snow drifts. Literally hitting snow drifts on the road. In May. Because, Wyoming.
But why bother with all of this? Because doctrine and practice matter. That’s why pastors faithfully attend our Winkels. That’s why we have deep theological presentations at our semi-annual District Pastor’s conferences. That’s why a district with only 40 pastors offers 3-4 continuing education events each year. That’s why we have visitation of congregations. Not just because the bylaws say so. But because we want to faithfully proclaim the Word of God, both in the Law and in the Gospel.
But is it really worth all that effort? Well, Jesus seemed to think so. And Yesterday’s Gospel reading says it better than I ever could:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man came to seek, and to save the lost.
So, yeah, I’m gonna say that doctrine and practice are pretty important. And the chance to talk about those things? We’re gonna take that any chance we get.