So it's aware to anyone and everyone that the Church is in a bit of a mess at the moment. You have denominations all over the theological map. And even in Lutheranism, all over the place.
This is not how it should be. How do we restore the Church - how do we fix it (or if you prefer, and this is more accurate, with what will God fix it)? How does Lutheranism get back on course?
Some say it will be fixed if we have more relevant, exciting worship - along with the freedom to do different things in every place.
Some think if we just had good rubrics things would get better.
Some think if we had dynamic pastors with good leadership things would be better.
Some think that if we had pastors who actually taught the Catechism things would be better.
I suppose I could keep going and find other hot topic issues to show the political divide - congregational polity or something else? Big districts or little districts? SMPP versus full course Seminarians? On and on we could go.
Here's the thing. Now, it should be some what obvious that on most of these questions I lean a certain way. Yes - we should have a common liturgy that is easily recognizable by any visitor - and yes, we should know the Catechism -- so on and so forth. However, if we suddenly, magically had everyone, just for the sake of unity, agree to do the same liturgy, use the same hymnal. . . that wouldn't fix anything.
What?!? How can you say that? Because the problem isn't any of these questions. These are all just symptoms of the true disease. We've lost our respect for and trust in the Word.
On the one hand, there isn't much respect for the Word -- we can't go by the Word, we must accomodate the needs of the day -- or to put it in Scriptural terms - everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
On the other hand, there isn't much trust in the Word. If we just did the same liturgy. . . what? Will we make people better Christians by enforcing a rule upon them? Or if the right person gets elected, he will make everything better.
Reformation approaches - and we need remember the lessons of the Reformation. The Word is what does things. The Word they still shall yet remain, nor any thanks have for it. The Church will never be fixed, it will always be a bloody mess in need of reform - and that reform comes not about by increased personal piety or devotional piety or liturgical or sacramental piety. Increasing law and piety doesn't fix things. . . rather, a focus on the Word will bring forth growth and an increase in piety.
We can put the cart before the horse - we end up trying to make the Church look like it ought while forgetting to focus upon the foundation. Thus - I exhort you all - be in the Word! Know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified. Learn the Word yourself, teach the Word, and let God tend to things.
Lord, save Your Church from those within it!