Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Messiah Lutheran Church's 50th Anniversary

This Sunday, Messiah Lutheran Church will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary. We will have two special services that day, a Divine Service at 10:30 am and a Vespers service at 2:00 pm. There will be no 8:00 am service, but note that we will be having Sunday School and Bible Class at 9:15. Between the two services there will be a potluck, and after the afternoon service cake will be servied.

To read my newsletter article introducing the theme of our celebration, click below.

“God’s Grace...God’s Gifts...God’s Glory”

“God’s Grace...God’s Gifts...God’s Glory.” That’s the theme for the celebration of Messiah’s 50th Anniversary as a congregation this October in the year of our Lord 2007. Our theme verse is that familiar passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, one that every Lutheran—not to mention every Christian—should know by heart: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

This is such a precious portion of Scripture. It teaches us that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith apart from the works of the Law. Now we can respond with truly good works done for the sake of our neighbor and to the glory of God, without thinking that we are somehow earning our salvation. That truth was recovered for the Church at the time of the Reformation, which we will also be celebrating at the end of this month.

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, a new pictorial directory is being prepared. It’s a real hoot to look at picture directories from the past. Over a period of 50 years, congregational pictorial directories see a lot of changes. Faces come and go. Children grow. Hairstyles and fashions evolve...for better or for worse. We laugh at what others looked like “back then.” But watch out! Someone’s going to be laughing at your picture when 2007 becomes “back then.”

Yes, Messiah Lutheran Church in Marysville has gone through a lot of changes in 50 years. Through all this, however, three things have remained constant: “God’s Grace...God’s Gifts...God’s Glory.” For 50 years, God’s grace in Christ Jesus has been proclaimed through Law and Gospel preaching and the mutual conversation and consolation of Christian brothers and sisters. For 50 years, God’s gifts of love and forgiveness have been poured out upon his people at the corner of State and 92nd through means such as water, spoken words, bread and wine. For 50 years, God’s glory has been manifested in his hidden presence in Word and Sacrament and reflected in the loving service which his people offer to each other and to their neighbors.

In another 50 years...that is, if our Lord Jesus delays his return...there will be another picture directory with more changes. Until that time, may our Merciful Lord bless us with many more years of living in his grace, receiving his gifts, and reflecting his glory.

In Christ’s service and yours,
Pastor Onken

No comments: