By Gretchen Roberts
ST. LOUIS (July 23, 2013) — In the third of four essays delivered to the delegates and participants at the 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS, the Rev. Ted Krey, LCMS regional director of Latin America, used the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate how “love, in Christ, is sacrifice so freely given to a neighbor.”
A neighbor, Krey said, does not need to be sought out. He recalled a couple who once attended the Divine Service at his congregation in the Dominican Republic, only to stay after and ask for money. Fellow Christians quickly pointed out these two were nothing more than professional beggars, but, Krey said, “They were near to us. You are the neighbor if you show mercy.”
Mercy, he continued, is for the unworthy. “Who in the Gospels comes to our Lord Jesus for the right reasons?” he asked. “Is your congregation known for being a place of mercy? Do you teach that works of mercy accompany a witness of our living Lord, Jesus Christ?”
Krey likened modern-day pastors to the priest, called to preach the Word but wondering how giving money to the local food bank will give a witness to Christ. Laypeople are the Levites, committed and faithful, but hoping to squeeze the Divine Service into 59 minutes and 59 seconds with no time to spare, he said. And the Good Samaritan, dead to the world, hated by Jews, yet feeling compassion and mercy for another, knows his neighbor.
The Good Samaritan is Jesus, finding Himself hated by the world, “despised, rejected, and esteemed not,” yet in His death and resurrection, He is not only our high priest, but also our neighbor.
To the delegation, he concluded, “In Baptism, He has splashed you with His mercy, His love, so that you might be freed from your sinful self to love in mercy your neighbor. It is for this moment and because of His grace.”
Krey, in addition to serving as the LCMS regional director of Latin America, serves alongside missionary Rev. Walter Ries of Brazil to establish a theological-education program to train more Lutherans to serve in the church. Prior to moving to the Dominican Republic, Krey served in Venezuela for eight years. He is a 2001 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.