We had about 150 people here at Redeemer last week for a family retreat. They were mostly, though not exclusively, homeschoolers. They were mostly, though not exclusively, large families. Many of them have fringe ideas about nutrition, government, polyester, brown eggs, or the Lord of the Rings. They were exclusively, to a man, hardcore confessional Lutherans and passionate about everything. More than half of them were under 18, most under 16, only a handful were over 50. It was exhausting, but wonderful. I am almost recovered and beginning to climb out of my characteristic over-analysis of the details, able to start reflecting on the blessing we have received and the joy that was bestowed upon us.
Here are the first things that are bubbling up:
My children had godparents, now, sadly divorced, whose children were my own godchildren. Of their own design, years ago they started to call one another “god-cousins.” In that rare inspiration of language they hit the mark. They were more than friends and neighbors. Their parents were god-brothers and that made them god-cousins. The adults gathered here this past week weren’t just friends, they were brothers. And that made all the children cousins.
I love being the pastor of small children. Nothing could be easier or more rewarding. The children do not care at all about my orthodoxy, insight, eloquence, or chanting. The length of my sermons or my stand on close communion or who I will marry or what I think of the synodical president, don’t matter. I am not just a friend of the family: I am the pastor. I am their pastor, same as their mom’s, and they love me. And, as is always the case, having first been loved, I love them.
Okay, maybe that is not Gottesdienst material. I should say something profound about the Sacrament or send a torpedo over the prow of the Contemporary Worship crowd. But it is what is coming now and I think the cousins bit is quite good.
The next retreat, btw, will be Tuesday July 31-Thursday Aug 2, 2012. Rev. Dr. Larry Rast, president of CTS will present on Martin Franzmann. We will sing a lot of Franzmann hymns and perhaps learn a thing or two about poetry and theology (as though they were different topics).