The pulpit is a blessedly dangerous place to stand. He whom the Lord places there is to speak truths that have got some men killed. Yet speak them he must. They are fire in his bones. They are the nouns and verbs of heaven. They are as sharp as flint, as soft as oil. They crucify and resurrect. Some will love the pastor for what he speaks, some will spit in his face. His is a lonely way, fraught with danger, yet punctuated with joy over sinners who repent, lost lambs carried home. He is a messenger, like the angels, sent by the Lord to announce Christ to the world. Given the challenges faced by those who serve as pastors, it is good to celebrate milestones in the ministry of these men. This past Sunday the believers at Trinity Lutheran, Sheboygan, WI, did just that. Their senior pastor, Timothy J. Mech, was ordained into the ministry 25 years ago. They celebrated his anniversary in conjunction with the celebration of St. Michael and All Angels, which was uniquely fitting since God uses the ministry of men and angels alike to shepherd His flock. The Rev. John Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, was the guest preacher. I was privileged to write a hymn for the occasion (see below), the tune of which was composed by Ken Kosche.
Thanks be to God for the ministry of Pastor Mech, along with the ministry of all others whom the Lord has called to serve as His under-shepherds.
"Angels and Men the Lord Ordains" Hymn for the 25th Ordination Anniversary of the Rev. Timothy Mech St. Michael and All Angels
Angels and men the Lord ordains, To guard His flock with heaven’s sword. This blade of words by which Christ reigns, Will keep at bay the devil’s horde. Angels above, shepherds below, The Lord sends forth His grace to show.
As Michael wars ‘gainst hellish foes To stem the tide of evil’s flood, So pastors strive, lies they oppose With truth that’s steeped in Jesus’ blood. For us our shepherd fights this fight With Scripture’s sword, the Word of light.
He does not preach to itching ears, But shows to all their guilt and sin. Then heralds Christ, who calms our fears, And by His cross grants peace within. Ordained to stand in Christ’s own stead, He echoes words our Lord has said.
With lips of grace our shepherd speaks. He bathes us in baptismal streams. The wand’ring lambs, in love he seeks. When wolves prowl near, he thwarts their schemes. Christ chose this man; He placed him here To shepherd us in grace each year.
All praise to you, our faithful God, For men who bear our Savior’s yoke, Who guide us with Your staff and rod, Your love proclaim, Your name invoke. With angel hosts to You we sing, The Lamb who is our shepherd King.
If you'd like to read more of my hymns and poems, please take a moment to check out my book, The Infant Priest. This collection of hymns and poems gives voice to the triumphs and tragedies of life in a broken world. Here there is praise of the crucified and risen Christ, dark lamentation of a penitent wrestling with despair, meditations upon the life of our Lord, thanksgiving for family, and much more. If you’d like to purchase a copy, you may do so at this website or on Amazon.com. Thank you!