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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles part 9

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Matthew 9:35–38 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Returning to the subject, I sincerely desire to see a truly Christian Council so that many matters and persons might be helped. Not that we need it, for by God’s grace, our churches are now so enlightened and equipped with the pure Word and right use of the Sacraments, with an understanding of the various callings and of right works, that we ask for no Council for our sake. We have no hopes or expectations from a Council. But we see so many vacant and desolate parishes throughout the Church’s districts that it breaks our heart. Yet neither the bishops nor canons care how these poor people live or die. Though Christ has died for them, they are not permitted to hear him speak with them as the true shepherd with his sheep. This makes me shudder and fear that at some time he may send a council of angels upon Germany, utterly destroying us like Sodom and Gomorrah, because we so deliberately mock him with the pretense of a Council.

Pulling It Together

It was after Jesus saw the desolate villages, the “sheep without a shepherd,” that he called the twelve disciples. God equips his Church with a variety of vocations, and is concerned that one of these callings, the office of Word and Sacrament, opens his Word to the people. How else will the people be taught? How else will they have spiritual leadership from actual shepherds instead of those who extort them? The apostolic word is that we are to be devoted to public reading of Scripture, preaching and teaching from those texts (1 Tim 4:13). How can this happen when the sheep have no shepherd?

Prayer: Lord, send workers into your harvest, shepherds for every flock. Amen.

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