by Tracy Danby
God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you,
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
As a seminarian I often thought about how I would live my life as a person of faith in the world and how would I conduct my ministry as a pastor among the people of God. This verse from Micah resonated with me as a good summary of my intentions. It has stuck with me ever since.
Many years earlier when I was confirmed, my pastor charged me with Acts 16:31 as my confirmation verse. There, a jailer had asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. “They answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.’” Okay, I was to have faith for myself and my family. As I matured I was also to be just, kind and walk with God with humility. Yikes – is that even possible, particularly for a mere mortal who didn’t even feel all that wise or powerful? With God’s help, I could try. With God’s help, we all can try.
It has been nearly 35 years since I made my pastoral vows, still with those words from Micah in the back of my mind. Every year on the anniversary of my ordination I reflect on those vows made so long ago. Much has changed since then in the church, the world and in myself. So it’s good to revisit them.
Those vows made by Lutheran pastors include some very daunting, humble and important tasks:
- Will you preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, the Creeds and the Lutheran confessions?
- Will you be diligent in your study of the Word and in your use of the Means of Grace? Will you pray for God’s people, nourish them with Word and Sacraments, and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?
- Will you be a faithful witness in the world, that God’s love may be known in all that you do?
“I will, and I ask God to help me.”
Although I am not currently serving the ELCA on the active clergy roster, those vows are things that I still can do in various ways: attend church to hear the Word, receive Holy Communion regularly, gather with this community of faith, participate in the life of this faith community, offer my abilities in service to the ministries at St. Michael’s, pray for others here as well as in the broader community and globally, and try to live my life so that when others see me they might see God at work and they can give glory to God. These are things that I can do whether I am a pastor or a layperson, trusting that God will use them for good and for God’s purposes. You know what? So can you, with God’s help and guidance.
We give you thanks, O God, for giving your people the gifts of faith and community. Give all of us kind and willing hearts to pray for others, serve others and be your witnesses in the world so that others may see you, praise you and come to know you. Amen.
Bio: Tracy Danby has been a member at St. Michael’s for over 20 years. A native of Ohio, she has been a Minnesotan since 1985. Tracy serves at St. Michael’s as an Assisting Minister, Lector, Communion Deacon and member of St. Michael’s Chapel Ringers. Her “day job” is working as a Business Analyst in the area of medical imaging by supporting radiology applications and end users. She has retired from showing dogs, but continues to enjoy them as her beloved companions. She also enjoys going for walks, bird watching, gardening and basically puttering around the yard during the warm weather.