Word From the Center: Friday, April 6, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s issue…
“Whew!” That’s all I can say sometimes, “By God’s grace, ‘Whew!’” These past several months have been a whirlwind. In the process of establishing our Lutheran presence here in Washington D.C., I’ve traveled the country and walked the halls of Congress for the sake of our work here. And I’ve tried to be clear as to why… The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL) is in Washington D.C. for three reasons: to be an advocate for liberty, for life, for marriage on behalf of our Churches, our Schools and our Universities; to be an educational resource about Two-Kingdom service in our culture for the sake of the Church and its mission; but, we are also here to be an encouraging voiceto those who’s vocations call them to serve in the Congress, the Senate, the Judiciary, the Executive Branch, and the many other vocations that surround these offices because the challenges in our culture matter and those who serve here matter too. At the LCRL, we call this a “ministry of presence.”
To that end, I’ve already been in meetings with many people on the Hill. I’ve shared with several Congressmen and Senators our views on things, yes, but I’ve also, prayerfully, gotten to know them, to ask them about their passions, and to commit our office to supporting their work concerning the things that we both hold dear. And, when you make these visits you have to keep your eyes and ears wide open because, as you know, encouragement takes a lot of listening and you never know when it will be needed most.
A few weeks ago, on one such visit, I was privileged to see how vital this work is. The young lady was a lead staffer in the office. For my meeting that day, she had needed to work especially hard to arrange time with the Congressman (with both of our schedules, it wasn’t easy). When I arrived, she not only greeted me, but made me feel right at home. I appreciated the care she took in doing her job well, and I wanted to be an encouragement to her to that end. So, I asked her about herself. I asked her about her time in Washington, the reason why she came. And, during that conversation, I also asked her about the pressures of her job and how she was able to handle such things. It was at that moment that I saw her eyes water up. Sensing that she might not have wanted that to happen, I immediately looked her in her eyes and told her about the Lord’s concern for her, and that if she ever needed anyone to talk to or anyone to pray with her, that she could call the LCRL anytime. Her smile returned. The conversation then veered off into the joys of having the support of people of faith. She talked about how much the Church means to her, how it gives her strength to do her best, and how glad she was for us to be here to the end as well. I thought, “What a blessing she is in this office, to this Congressman.” We need more like that young lady here in this city, wouldn’t you agree?
One of my other favorite meetings — and you thought that I was going to talk about the Congressmen and Senators, didn’t you? (Maybe later…) — has been with the young people of our Church who are hard at work here in Washington D.C., but who also gather regularly during the month for Bible Study. This gathering was called “Theology on Tap.” They have special speakers come to talk with their group about “faith and life in places like Washington D.C.” How great it is to discover dedicated professionals from our church (they were a fun group too!) who know the vital need to regularly gather around the Word of God during the week, who encourage each other in prayer, and provide a support community of faith for the tasks at hand… How joyfully refreshing to be a part of it.
A “Ministry of Presence” in D.C., that’s being where the action is, seeking to know what is going on first hand (or as close to first-hand as possible), but it’s also about undergirding the hearts and minds of those who’s vocations call them to serve in Washington D.C. and to begin to raise up more and more leaders like those I’ve been privileged to meet already. For now… That’s what we are up to here at the LCRL, that’s why we are in the mix, on your behalf as we strive for a mission of presence in this place. May God bless our work together in His Name!