One of the great themes of life is resurrection and new birth. Martin Luther believed that we lived it every day. In baptism, we are buried with Christ and emerge a new being in Him. Every day God forgives us and we start a new day in God’s grace.
Sitting in my bedroom as a young teenager I sweated bullets over something that I had done. I can’t even remember what it was. I do remember that I thought my life had come to an end. It must have happened during holy week because that Good Friday I was praying in my bed after evening services for forgiveness. As you can imagine, Easter was a huge celebration for this boy. I knew deep within my soul that I was forgiven and new day was possible.
It has been my vocation to announce to the world that beautiful message. Shortly before I started this column I received news that Elsie Carpenter had slipped away in her sleep into the arms of her savior. Elsie helped make my vocation possible. She was on my call committee. 33 years ago I sat in a room and was interviewed by the call committee of Christ the Lord. Elsie was around the same age as I am now. By approving me for a call to the congregation, I was imparted with the responsibility of leading a congregation at the age of 26. Little did I know at that time what would be involved in assuming the responsibilities.
A week ago I received a text message from Louis Tillman including a picture of him being acknowledged as a graduate of the Lutheran Seminary of Chicago. He will soon be called to a church in Philadelphia. I am guessing that he is around 26 years old. The church continues.
There are few people left from the days when I started here. They have died or moved away. But as you can tell the church continues. We continue as a people of God given the call to announce to the world the Good News of Jesus. I can only imagine if there is a teenager now sitting in the pew in fear and trembling of something that he or she has done. If there is, I hope that young person hears as I did years ago a word of hope and forgiveness. I believe that is the hope of Jesus for all people.
If you are reading this and are burdened with a sin, know that you too are forgiven. Because HE lives you will live also. .
~ In His Service