Archives for posts with tag: pastor

blog picMy father will be 89 this year. I have made a commitment to see him every year until the Lord calls him home. The reason for that is rather simple — I feel that only now am I really getting to know my dad.

I knew my dad as a pastor. He always had people surrounding him, hanging on his every word, seeking a blessing or giving praise.

I knew my dad as a student. He was constantly surrounding himself with books, he never failed to have a Bic pen in hand, and he filled hundreds of pages with notes in old fashioned notebooks. My siblings joke about us fighting over who will inherit his notebooks.

I knew my dad as a husband. He was quiet but always supportive of my mom. Publicly, they rarely disagreed. I saw them being playful with each other but also being extremely serious when the subject was helping people in need.

I knew my dad as a sort of super human. I never saw my dad cry. I never heard him raise his voice. He never appeared to be in a hurry and he always had time for everyone. And one more thing: my dad didn’t give any indication that he needed any help from anyone no matter what the task was.

I knew my dad as a great communicator. For a guy with only a 5th grade formal education, he certainly climbed very high on the ladder of academia. Not only was he articulate, his words were persuasive. He was a specialist in drawing deep lessons from every-day stuff. My dad naturally drew crowds without even being aware that he had this power.

But I didn’t know my dad as a playmate in a game of UNO. I don’t remember that we ever played any games together. I guess we were too busy trying to survive.

I didn’t know my dad as a collaborator in a project fixing something around the house. The few times I asked him if I could help, I remember hearing a firm “no.”

I didn’t know my dad as a hugger. It was not until my freshman year in college, after I had been away from home for a while, that I remember getting a hug from my dad, one of those side hugs that those unaccustomed to touch give while praying to God that no one is watching.

I didn’t know my dad as a coach. My mom did all the teaching, admonishing and disciplining in our home. I remember hearing my dad at times say things like, “You should get him/her to do this or that.” My mom may have had that delegated to her, or maybe she just stepped in, knowing my dad wasn’t going to do it. Our family was not unlike many others today where the women take the lead instructing the children in the ways of the Lord and I’m thankful to God that my mom was equal to the task. Without her investment in our lives we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I did get spanked by my dad once. He came after me with a belt and I jumped over a fence, not before he launched the belt toward my stomach, leaving a bloody spot. Then he ran after me in the yard but I was a lot faster than he so I escaped a full punishment. Kind of. Because it rained hard that evening and I was outside for a long time until my mom finally had mercy on me and called me in to shower and have supper. I am sure I deserved the discipline, even if I can’t remember today what the whole ordeal was about.

As I moved away from my home after college, I observed from a distance how my dad was relating to my younger siblings, especially my youngest sister, who was born the year I started college. Slowly, she softened my dad’s heart and my dad became a different person.

And it is this person I am getting to know now in my older years. My dad, the conversationalist; My dad, the encourager; My dad, the man who raises his voice sometimes; My dad, who marches to his own beat; My dad, a dad in the truest sense of the word. And it is that man that is making me undertake a yearly pilgrimage to the equator in Northern Brazil to try to make up for some lost time. No worries, though, we will have plenty of time in heaven, because of all the traits of my dad I didn’t get to know, Dad, the servant of God, imperfect but saved by grace, will never cease to impact me.

“Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” (Luke 6:40).

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

I was greeting people the other day after church when a mother told me she wanted her young daughter to meet me. I said, “Great.” She brought her child over and since she was a little shy and had her hand on her mouth, the Mom said, “Take your hands off your mouth, you’re talking to the pastor.” I immediately reacted, saying something like, “Oh now, don’t do that. I want her to look at me as a normal person.” Someone who was standing by saw the opportunity to say, “Normal?” And laughter ensued…

Well, I guess that if you want to take that conversation in that direction, there is enough that can be said about how “normal” anyone of us really is. There is a famous story written by Brazilian literary icon Machado de Assis, that features a Psychiatrist who built a hospital where he started admitting everyone who exhibited signs of abnormal behavior. After a while, he noticed that he had the whole town committed, so he quickly discharged everyone and admitted himself so he could study more carefully the genesis and cures for his own lunacy.

But that is not the direction I wanted to take that conversation. I wanted the Mother to avoid conveying to her young daughter the idea that I was somehow so far above the rest of the people to whom my sheer presence should elicit a different type, perhaps more “proper” behavior. That’s why I only rarely introduce myself to people as being a “pastor.” I don’t want their walls to go up. I don’t want them to somehow believe they can’t be their real selves when speaking with me. The ecclesiastical title confers me no exalted status, no “holier than thou” position.

This week, we will close out the series we’ve called “Picture (Im)perfect,” and if there is one thing I want you to take away from this study, it is the fact that we at one point were ALL broken people whose lives were radically changed by an encounter with the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. When it is all said and done, we, myself included, are all sinners saved by grace.

We all must be like the apostle Paul when he encountered people who were far away from God in the city of Lystra in Acts 14. After they gave him a demonstration of their rampant paganism, instead of saying, “You are a bunch of ignorant pagans who still believe it is okay to offer sacrifices to other humans,” he said, “We are only humans like you.” In other words — we are no better and no worse than you. We are all in need of a rescuer. And then he went on to tell them about the nature of the true God who can rescue us one and all. Though called to a higher standard and motivated by a higher calling, we pastors are also humans like all. We too are made of clay and can also tend to stray, were it not for God’s supernatural enabling in our lives.

I hope to see you Sunday. You will not only enjoy a review of what we learned through this series, you will also be introduced to a final character in our study that might be totally surprising to you.

Have a great weekend,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade