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The Pied Piper

by Jaynan Clark Egland (President, WordAlone Network)

November 15, 2002

This weekend the Theological Advisory Board of the WordAlone Network will meet for the very first time. The meeting comes after almost 3 years of hoping and dreaming of bringing together some of the best Lutheran theologians of these times to work for the reform and renewal of the church. The board has both theological depth and international breadth; necessary dimensions for taking on the current issues facing the church.

I would be a very rich woman if I had a dollar for all the “can’ts” I’ve heard in the past couple of years in regards to forming a group such as this. My favorite objection so far was by one individual who said, “You can’t bring together that many theologians from across the church and accomplish anything. It will be like herding cats.”

“How fun!” I responded. “I wonder who will be the Pied Piper?”

I remain extremely hopeful and filled with expectation as we approach this first gathering and the continuing education event that follows Nov. 18 and 19 at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minn. To date, more than 400 people have registered to attend, full of hope and expectation, I believe. Yet, when I become too confident in what has been planned and could possibly be accomplished, I remember a quote from Luther:

All human efforts have their fixed time to be started, to be effected and to be concluded. That time cannot be known in advance by men. The moment of all happenings is in God’s power. Therefore, all anticipatory anxieties and all precise planning for the future are fruitless and meaningless. Gustaf Wingren, Luther on Vocation, p. 213

Luther was not being a “Can’t-er” or throwing cold water on others’ hopes, he only would remind us how futile it is to hope in that of our own making. We are not to think too highly of ourselves and our goals and accomplishments. To God be the glory for all our efforts, and God will bring to fruition what is according to His divine will.

It will take much prayer support and financial backing to launch and continue this new vehicle for reform and renewal. For those who doubt and question what could possibly be accomplished, remember, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

God through His Son, Jesus Christ, has taken on many things more difficult than reforming His church or even herding cats!! The Pied Piper has called us to follow and leave the herding to Him. How fun!