My articles the last 3 weeks have ended up to be a “trilogy” of sorts. You can read the two previously posted articles: “Who Needs a License?” and “Hidden and Revealed” if you are interested in how this comes as a “real life” conclusion. When writing about licensed lay ministry, I shared a bit about my spiritual mentor, Martin Heide, a lay pastor who served many years in North Dakota.
A pastor in North Dakota responded to my article and I asked his permission to share his words with all of you. They are as follows:
“Thank you for lifting Martin up as a role model in your last WordAlone article. I share the following story regarding his status as licensed or not. I was surprised when the bishop said this about Martin once: ‘Some lay preachers don’t want the authority to preside at communion. I asked Martin Heide once if he wanted to be authorized to preside at communion and he looked at me like I was crazy. ‘Why would I want that?’ was his reply.’
The next time I saw Martin I asked, ‘when you were preaching, did you preside at communion?’ His response was an enthusiastic, ‘Every chance I got!’ I told him of the bishop’s story. He laughed that Scandinavian farmer laugh and said, ‘He didn’t understand then, what I was saying was, ‘Why on earth would I want you looking over my shoulder, telling me what I can and can’t do?’
Martin died the morning of July 12th. Martin had a wonderful sense of the truths that have prompted WordAlone. As I’m sure you know, he wasn’t big on church politics in any form but did have a beautiful trust in the power of God’s Word to do its work.”
I am thankful this note was sent back to me and I was able to pass it on. Martin never advocated chaos or anarchy in the church. He just knew what “for good order” meant. God’s “order” has little to do with rights or rites or human authority. Simply stated, the end of this story reflects the freedom of the baptized called to serve by God’s orders. . .for good order, of course. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has that authority, don’t you agree?”