Thursday, May 26, 2011


In our church body, the term "vicar" is used for seminary students who are doing their year of internship under the guidance of a pastor. Those of us who watch BBC or read British literature have heard the term "vicar" used for the guy we Americans might call "pastor" or "bishop" or "minister" or "priest" or "father" or "clergyman."

In the Lutheran church, we are also likely to run across the term "vicarious atonement" with great frequency. So we know that "vicarious" means "in the place of" or "substitutionary."

I didn't realize until this week that "vicar" is the same word as "vicarious." Sure, one's a noun and one's an adjective, but it's the same word. The pastor says, "In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins." And we sing, "When ministers lay on their hands, absolved by Christ the sinner stands." Jesus says to the pastors, "He who hears you hears Me."

VICAR is a very good word for who a pastor is and what he is called to be and do.

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