2018 is a district convention year in the MN South District and the other 34 districts in the LCMS. Each parish will send a pastoral and lay delegate to our June 21-23 convention at Concordia University, St. Paul, as we gather under the theme, “Chosen to Proclaim.” The theme is based on 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
The text is a great reminder that being chosen and set apart by God is not just another way to say that we’re Christians. We are chosen and set apart for a specific purpose. That purpose is to
“proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Two words stand out for me in this verse. The first is “proclaim.” This is our purpose as Christians – to proclaim. There is no shyness in that word, no whisper or political correctness. It means to announce with conviction and celebration, to tell forth, to declare abroad. In case you thought your pastor was the only proclaimer in your congregation, an inspired Peter says otherwise. We are all proclaimers, every one of us. Our pastor is our designated proclaimer for the public proclamation of the Word on a regular basis, but in life, in the world, the Lord has chosen and set each of us apart to be a proclaimer.
The second word that catches my attention is “excellencies” – “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” In the original Greek New Testament, the word is difficult to translate. It can mean virtues or moral goodness, but it can also mean praises. I like the word, “excellencies.” We proclaim not only the excellent works of power which God has accomplished for our salvation but also the excellent character of God – His holiness, perfection, and love. Given the pure excellence of God, we have a lot to proclaim – both what God has done and who God is!
As with every convention we will have the church’s business to do. We will elect a new district president. We will also elect officers, members of the Board of Directors, and other leaders. Pray for leaders who are solid theologically and completely committed to the mission of Jesus Christ. And there will, of course, be resolutions. It’s hard to tell right now what resolutions we will consider. Any congregation may send an overture which in turn will be considered by a convention floor committee and possibly sent on to the convention. I personally hope that we can say something to our culture from the Godward side of things, from the perspective of a Biblical world view. I also hope we can move the mission forward in our corner of the kingdom and beyond.
Along the way, Dr. Matt Harrison, LCMS President, will preach at the opening service, June 21. Dr. Greg Seltz, former Lutheran Hour speaker, will be our essayist on our theme, “Chosen to Proclaim.” He now serves as Executive Director of the LCMS’s new Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington D.C. He knows something about public proclamation. Our Bible study leader will be Dr. Phil Johnson, Assistant to the President for Mission Formation in our district. He will bring engaging insights and application from 1 Peter 2:9.
You’re invited to join us, as a delegate or as a guest. As a guest, you may come for part or for all of the convention. We have a lot of proclaiming to do.