October 12, 2011

Minister of the Word of God

Pray for me as I attempt to be a true Minister of the Word of God...
It is self-evident that it is to be highly desired that a pastor (or as we should more truly say: a minister of the Word of God) should be a moral character and a religious personality; a man of good taste and training; a quick thinker and yet one who is full of due respect for the laws of sound human reason. He should be a man well-grounded in life's meaning and yet sincere in his understanding regarding the joy and sorrow of his environment, both near and far. He should be sincere in prayer, a disciplined worker, a perfectly natural, and yet a uniquely spiritually-minded man, a good parent, citizen, and patriot -- but one with wide horizons. He should be a man whose whole heart is steeped in his own times, that is, one who is sensitive to, and experiences the needs and hopes of, the times as his very own, and takes a stand regarding them, so that he can think and speak with his contemporaries as one of them. He must be capable and ready to love every human being, and be, therefore, capable and resolved to fear no man. He must be and remain free to make a decision and to hold to his choice as he pledges and gives himself without reservation in the battle for the good. 
He must have the courage to make a lone stand, but he must also possess such humility that he can take his place as a simple private among many others in the regiment of work and struggle. He must be prepared to wait patiently in quietness, as well as be prepared for the intensest activity. He must be a man of peace, as well a man of struggle, if struggle it must be. He must, by an inner necessity, be able to express equally well the fiercest seriousness, the deepest unction, as well as the most candid humor. He must be at home in the Bible and his dogmatics. He must possess an understanding of the political issues, the movies, and sport, that is, at least, to the extent of having a sympathetic understanding for them. HE must be equal to good society, and yet be a peculiarly uncitizen-like creature. His heart must be with the proletariat and just for that reason he must have none of the proletarian sentiments and prejudices. He must know the atheist and the pietist better than they know themselves. He must be a psychologist, trained either by scientific education or natural bent, and yet, on the contrary, he must not be psychological at all, but know how to comfort sympathetically and fervently, or reprimand in a simple and direct way. 
As a pastor and watchman and teacher and preacher to sick souls, he must be well acquainted with, and bring loving care to, the immediate problems within their four walls. But he must know and understand no less the larger movement of events transpiring out in the Church and the world within the framework of which the fate of the congregation is enacted. He must speak to men, but in such a way that something more is said to them than what they might just as well say to themselves. He must know how to think, speak, and act as a priest and as a prophet and as a pastor. 

~Karl Barth, from God in Action