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Sermon for the Installation of Pastor Tony Booker John 20:19-31

St. Michaels Lutheran Church, Prague, Czech Republic October 8, 2011 Rev. Dr. Timothy C. J. Quill Today we have gathered together in this room to receive a gift from the risen and ascended Lord Jesus. St. Paul tells us, When [Jesus] ascended on high.he gave gifts to men.It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors(Eph 4:8,11) Today Jesus Christ is going to give his Church in this place another pastor. In once sense, the church was given a new pastor when Tony Booker was ordained in Fort Wayne this past August. Today, with the Rite of Installation, Pastor Booker is being officially placed into office here at St. Michaels Lutheran Church. Our Lord is giving him to you as a gift. You have gathered here today to receive the gift of a new pastor from Jesus. You have gathered here today because Christ is here. There is nothing new about this. Since the day of our Lords resurrection, the Church has gathered on Sundays, the day of the resurrection and on other festival days because the risen Lord is present. He is present in Word and Spirit. He is present to feed us with his life-giving body and blood. At the beginning of every Divine Service Jesus says something very important to you. He says, Your sins are forgiven. Jesus speaks these words through the lips of his pastor. The Pastor doesnt merely talk about forgiveness, he doesnt merely offer the assurance that your sins are forgiven; he actually cleansed you from all unrighteousness. Such a thing is possible because Jesus is present and his words bestow that of which they speakforgiveness of sins and peace on earth with God. A long time ago some confused and frightened men gathered in another room. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (20:19, 21-23) The resurrection account in John 20 is well known to all of us. It is read every year on the Sunday after Easter. On that day the risen Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples. Since that day, he also promised to be among his people when ever two or three gather in his name. The reason the church gathers for worship is because the risen Lord Jesus is present. No resurrection, no reason to gather. No reason to worship. As Paul explained to the Church in Corinth, if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. (1 Cor. 15:17,20) Forty days after his resurrection Jesus ascended into heaven. But before he left, he established the office of the Holy Ministry. He chose and sent the twelve (minus one) to preach the Gospel and forgive sins. The Apostles in turn chose and ordained other pastors

2 to preach the Gospel, administer the Sacraments, and shepherd the Lords churches. These pastors have continued to put in place shepherds down to the present day, down to this very day here in Prague. What took place in that room on the day of our Lords resurrection is repeated today. As the Father sent me, I am sending you. Imagine that, not even Jesus Christ took it upon himself to send himself into the world to save sinners. The Father chose and sent him. He was the Fathers gift to the fallen world. When Jesus was ordained into his public ministry at his baptism in the Jordan River, the Father said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. And the Father repeated it again on the Mount of Transfiguration, adding the words, This is my Son, whom I have chosen, listen to him. (Luke 9:35) Jesus did not choose and send himself, but he joyfully came in willful obedience to his Father. The Apostles did not choose themselves. They were called and sent by Jesus. Likewise, all pastors, including Tony Booker, do not call and send themselves. You cannot take the office by coercion, no matter how sincere your intentions. It is a gift. That is the way the Gospel works. The Gospel is a gift and can only be received by faith, which is worked in you by the Holy Spirit. So it is with men who bear the gifts. They do not make themselves pastors. When Napoleon was crowned emperor, he did a very brazen and unprecedented thing. He took the crown out of the hands of the Bishop, the representative of the Roman Catholic Church and crowned himself. Nothing like this happened when Tony was ordained and we will not see anything like this happen here today. What we will see is Pastor Tony Booker upon his knees with head bowed. We will see Pastor Collver place his hands upon Tonys head, and with word and prayer, give him to St. Michaels as a giftpure gift. What took place in that room on the day of our Lords resurrection is repeated today. Jesus showed his disciple his hands and side and they were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Then [Jesus] breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (20:22-23) Then he breathed on them. Dead people dont breath. Ghosts dont breath. It was the risen Lord who was sending them. He breathed on them and said. Dead people dont speak. Without breathing, one cannot speak. What Jesus said was two-fold: Receive the Holy Spirit, and forgive sins. What took place in that room on the day of our Lords resurrection has been repeated down through the centuries every time a pastor is ordained. The risen Lord Jesus is also present here today. Of course we cannot see him. Since the day of our Lords Ascension we live in a time of hearing not seeing. That is why Jesus said to Thomas eight days later, Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Pastor Collver will not breathe on Tony, but it is a safe to assume that Pastor Collver will be breathing. We will not see Jesus nail pierced hands, but we will see the hands of one of Christs pastors placed on Tonys head, and this breathing pastor will speak our Lords creative Word. Long ago the Apostle Paul encouraged a young pastor named Timothy with the

3 words, Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Tim 4:14) The same Spirit given by Jesus to his Apostles 2000 years ago, the same Spirit given to Pastor Timothy was given to Pastor Booker at his ordination. You cant be a pastor without the Holy Spirit. That is why St. Paul also told young pastor Timothy, I remind you to fan the flame of the gift of God, which is in your through the laying on the my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline. (1 Tim 1:6-7) Tony, Im sure you remember the day in Fort Wayne, Indiana when hands were laid upon your head at your ordination. Maybe thats one reason why hands are laid on the head. Its closest to the brain. Remember that moment Tony, for through the Word and the Laying on of Hands you were given the special gift of the Holy Spirit. Oh, you did not feel a holy tingle going through your body. You did not feel yourself become instantaneously more sanctified and filled with some sort of indelible character. Nevertheless, it was a great and inscrutable miracle, for with it, you were given the promise that every time you faithfully speak what God has given you to speak, the pure Word of the Gospel; and every time you faithfully do what God has ordained you to do, namely forgive sins in Holy Absolution, cleanse sinners in Holy Baptism, and consecrate the bread and wine at the Lords Supper, Jesus and his Holy Spirit will be there. Therein lays your confidence and power. Not in yourself, but a spirit of power. The Holy Spirit will work repentance and faith in people through what you say and do. Paul also adds the words, a spirit of love and of self-discipline. It takes selfdiscipline to keep yourself out of things. To keep focused on Gods Word. Thus we sang this morning: Restrain, O Lord, the human pride That seeks to thrust Your truth aside Or with some man-made thoughts or things Would dim the words Your Spirit sings.1 Pastor Booker, you are to say only what our Lord has given you to sayand to say it with love. To say it with love when your people love you and when they do not. You fan the flame of the gift of the Spirit when you first let our Lords words daily go into your ears and into your heart. What you learned at the Seminary in theory will become your way of life under the cross. Meditatio, oratio, tentatio. Chewing on the Word of God, prayer, and testing (Anfectungen). Then the Word and Spirit will come out of your heart and mouth and into the ears of your people. From the pulpit, at the sick bed, and at home visits you will be a real Seelsorger. A Seelsorger is one who cares for the souls of the people. Tony, you have been blessed with a wife who is nurse. She has given up her job in Fort Wayne to come with you here to Prague. People like Connie are very special for they care for the precious bodies of sick infants. To entrust the physical wellbeing of a

Philipp Melanchton, Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide Lutheran Service Book #585, Stanza 5.

4 sick child to someone who is not properly trained is irresponsible and dangerous. One does not undertake an important vocation like hers without the finest training in the art of medicine. In 590 AD, St. Gregory the Great wrote in the opening chapters of his book on pastoral care (Regula Pastoralis): No one ventures to teach any art unless he has learned it after deep thought. With rashness, then, would the pastoral office be undertaken by the unfit, seeing that the care of souls is the art of arts! For who does not realize that the wounds of the mind are more hidden than the internal wounds of the Body? Yet although those who have no knowledge of the powers of drugs shrink from giving themselves out as physicians of the flesh, people who are utterly ignorant of spiritual precepts are often not afraid of professing themselves to be physicians of the heart. St. Gregory is echoing the words of St. Paul to the new pastor Timothy. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily. (1 Tim 5:22) Dont let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (1 Tim 4:11-13) Tony, you may be a new pastor, but you are not a youngster. You have spent many years as faithful laymen and many more in serious theological study at Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne. Your ordination was not done hastily. You have a lot to learn, but you bring to the task a maturity, which I believe will be a blessing to this congregation as you, care for the souls of these dear people as well as the souls of those who will enter the doors of St. Michaels in the days and years to come. So today our Lord is giving this church another pastor. We have gathered here today because our risen Lord Jesus is present, giving us the gift of a pastor who will faithfully preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and give to the people of St. Michaels life and salvation. Thanks be to God! And peace be with you. In the name of Jesus+