Rev. Christopher Raffa, Associate Pastor
Pastor Raffa was ordained at Pilgrim in August 2007 upon graduation from the Master of Divinity program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. His undergraduate degree was earned at Concordia University Portland, Oregon. He is a proud bibliophile who daily devotes himself to the study of Holy Scripture and its pastoral application to the life of his flock.
Pastor Raffa is dedicated to the vocations of a catechumen of God’s Word, husband to Julie, and father to Rachel, Matthias, Emma, and undershepherd to God’s people at Pilgrim. He lives out these vocations he has been given in a state of prayer (oratio), meditation (meditation), and affliction (tentatio). His life as a pastor is confirmed and driven by prayer, meditation, and affliction by which he strives ardently to be faithful to them.
Martin Luther also experienced this life in terms of the passage of time. Though often we would see the passage of time as routine, even boring, the history of time is simply the history of the sinful creature and the justifying God that seeks after him in His flesh and by His Word. In the intersection of God and man there the story is told, is lived out in all its complexity and all its simplicity. In his Warning to His Beloved Germans of 1531, Luther captured the essence of the pastoral ministry and the reason for why the Reformation of the Church was worth the blood of its martyrs. “It has, praise God, come to this, that men and women, young and old, know the catechism, and how to believe, live, pray, suffer, and die” [Luther’s Works 47:52].
It is for this reason that Pastor Raffa works in the church and comes to church. He stands quietly before the puzzles and mysteries of Scripture that he is called to interpret even as he is interpreted by them. Hearing the Word of Promise, he speaks the Word of Promise and is mindful of this Word of Promise in all aspects of the caring and shepherding of the body and souls that have been entrusted into his care. He trembles before this Word as he prays with Martin Luther,
“O Lord God, dear Father in heaven. I am indeed, unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and to serve this congregation. But since Thou hast appointed me to be a pastor and teacher, and the people are in need of the teachings and the instructions, O be Thou my helper and let Thy holy angels attend me. Then if Thou art pleased to accomplish anything through me, to Thy glory and not to mine or to the praise of men, grant me, out of Thy pure grace and mercy a right understanding of Thy Word and that I may also diligently perform it. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Thou Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, send Thy Holy Spirit that He may work with me, yea, that He may work in me to do through Thy divine strength according to Thy good pleasure. Amen."