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In one of the churches I minister, there is this 91 years old Elder. He is considered very spiritual and trustworthy. But he had gone through very rough times in his life. Reading Dr. Seamands book I remembered his story. In 1989 in December before the anti-Communist Revolution, he had three of his girls (he had 5 girls and 3 boys) in Timisoara (the city where the Revolution started); the older daughter, the second one and the youngest. The first two were working and the youngest just started her college (October 1st that year). The Revolution started on Saturday December 16, and on Sunday night, on the way home from the church, this three girls decided to pass by the place where most of the people from the revolution were, to see what was going on there. That day the shooting started and continued through the night, but people gathered very fast in the National Opera Plaza. So, going through a park, close to the hot spot of the revolution, holding hands, with the youngest in the middle, a sniper shot both older girls. The youngest saw her two sisters from her sides falling down almost instantly. People gathered around her, took her from there and the bodies of the shot girls disappeared. After a weak, after the Communism was abolished, the family was able to find only one of the dead girls. Apparently she didn’t die in the park, but was executed in the head in the hospital. They couldn’t find the other one because the communist authorities, in order to hide the crimes, sent 200 bodies to Bucharest to be cremated. All this, left a big pain in the entire family but mostly in this father’s heart. He was angry with God for many years after this los though continuing to do ministry. Then, something happened: he talks about a vision, in which he met God, the Father. In this vision he asked God why he had to go through that pain and he asked for healing from his pain. But God told him that He suffered too; He saw his Son being killed too; and when he is in pain he should look to the Cross, and to Christ’s wounds, because He bore his suffering on the cross too. This elder witnesses that from the moment, he realized Christ suffered and the Father suffered with Him, his pain was gone. This is the thesis of Dr. Seamand’s book too. Christ bore our hurts on the Cross in order that we would be healed. (more…)
I had to start with the book that reminded me most of my Seminary years. The moment I started reading the book and the list with the names of the theologians who revived the interest for the Trinitarian Theology in the 20th century, (17) I knew I would love this book. It is a great and challenging read, but also clarifying because the view on the Trinity is accessible. It reminded me as a minister of my purpose for ministry, and challenged me not to loose my focus. It also can minister to the soul of pastors and it ministered to my soul!
Dr. Seamands wrote this book starting from the presupposition that the Trinity although accepted by Christians as a truth is not truly understood, explored or made as a life application. Dr. Seamands explains the importance of what the Trinity means to us and how to remodel our lives, our ministries and our relationships after it. Also, Dr. Seamands does a tremendous service to the Church in taking the thought of the recent renaissance in Trinitarian theology and implementing its implications for the practice of theology of ministry. The book begins by considering the nature of God – one God coexisting in three Persons. From this, the Trinitarian contemplation on the nature of God becomes a model for ministry. The purpose statement of the book is: “I have written this book-to demonstrate the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity for the vocation of ministry.”(11). The Trinity is at the heart of our call to ministry, and ministers are called to perfect submission while not losing their distinct personhood. Below are the chapters with my understanding of each in a word (it is not a comprehensive word for the entire chapter, but this is what touched me):
1.Trinitarian Ministry (Centrality): trinity should be central for the life of the church and for the life of the individual. Both, at the level of corporate and individual, the ministry should be rooted in the unity and diversity of the Trinity. Therefore, we are involved in the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Father through the Holy Spirit.
2. Relational Personhood (Vulnerability): This chapter is a reminder that the Gospel and the Trinitarian model call us to open ourselves to relationships. “Many Christians have bought into the cultural notion that religion is an individual, private matter and assume they can believe without belonging.”(39) This chapter presents the concept of “person” in the image of the Trinitarian model. And so, we have to become “persons” in relation to God, Church and family. (more…)