All ministers are cross-bearers

No man, and, consequently, no minister has ever been promised perfect happiness on earth. All ministers must be cross-bearers. “He that will be my disciple, let him take up his cross,“ saith the Lord, “and follow me.” The whole of Scripture proves that God´s children never yet were without tribulation here below. It is through much tribulation, indeed, that we enter his kingdom; they who do not share in it are bastards, not children; and the chastising of the Lord is no proof of his wrath, but his love.

What would the minister become if he led a life of mere comfort in a home where the cross, with all its various shapes and hues, had no place? His heart would grow dull and dead as stagnant water. His preaching would be barren and empty. His prayers would lack all unction and depth.

As it is, whenever the rest of the house is shaken, when the wind blows, or the waters rise, or the rains fall, the pastor must have his closet where he can be alone with God and his cross, some place apart which is only entered by those who wish to speak to him of pastoral concerns. Here he is “at home” in the narrowest sense of the word.

Let the minister´s wife arrange all the rest of the house according to her own taste; the study must have nothing to do with domestic business or social visiting. Oratio, tentation, meditation faciunt theologum: that is the answer to what the pastor does in his study. Oratio has a very broad scope and includes every want, every desire of the whole congregation. Tentatio, too, applies to the whole world of the heart, all life´s experiences in all their rich and broad extent. Therefore, meditatio should not be limited to the lessons or excerpts from Holy Scriptures chosen as free texts. Oratio and tentatio find rest and satisfaction only in meditatio, and meditatio itself is dead and unfruitful without them. This meditatio must be distinguished from cursory reading of the Bible and also from exegetical studies… Real meditation must be learned from the Virgin Mary, of whom it is written that she “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Karl Büchsel: “Erinnerungen aus dem Leben eines Landgeistlichen” (1861) translated in “My ministerial experiences” Dobberstein Pg. 308f.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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