After the last Psalter was sung, a white-haired man with glasses shook the minister's hand. Then Ryan followed Daddy and other men in dark suits. Daddy stopped by a rack to pick up the black fuzzy collection bags before they went into the consistory room. Daddy shut the door behind him.
Inside, the men stood in a circle, their heads bowed. Ryan stood in front of Daddy; his head was leaning against Daddy's knees. He looked around. The men's legs looked like black pillars around him. Ryan closed his eyes when he felt Daddy fold his strong rough hands on his head. A man prayed.
Ryan opened his eyes when he heard "Amen." He looked up at the minister in his black suit, white shirt and grey tie. The minister smiled at him. Grey hair streaked through his black hair. He turned to speak to the men. Ryan heard the same words he used on the pulpit: God ... Jesus ... save ... sin ... cross ... Romans.
After talking a few minutes the men left, except Daddy and another man. They still had to dump money from the fuzzy black bags into blue cloth bags. Then they left too. Daddy turned off the lights and shut the door behind him.
Children, a consistory room seems to hold many secrets. Only elders, deacons and the ministers go into that room after church. What do they do there? What do they say? I just told you one secret. The consistory prays for you before the service and after the service. They pray that God may speak to you (and to them) by the preaching of His Word.
They were placed in the consistory by God through the voting of church members, to care for you. The minister takes care of you by teaching and preaching God's Word. The elders care for you by ruling and managing the church, and the deacons care for you by receiving money which they use to operate the church and give to those in need. They are like farm hands who help a sheep farmer care for his flock. They watch over the flock of our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God will reward faithful ministers and elders and deacons for this great task, but they will have to report to God how faithfully they performed it. For this reason the Scripture says: "Know [respect] them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you: and to esteem them very highly in love for their worK's sake" (I Thessalonians 5;12-13A).
When Ryan was in the consistory room, he stood in a circle of prayer. Faithful ministers, elders and deacons know prayer is the only way to receive strength and wisdom to teach, rule and provide for the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for them. They watch over your souls!