Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Believers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
This month we are experiencing a truly once in a lifetime event in the life of our parish. Our Hinners Pipe Organ will be dedicated to the glory of our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit! It has been accompanying our divine services since Christmas. Now the time has come for the Dedication Concert.
Even though it was built in 1909, it has now come to its true home in our sanctuary. So many people have commented that it looks like it has always been in our church. It perfectly matches the wood and the style of our church nave. The sound of these pipes will lead us and the next generation in liturgy, hymns, psalms and joyful expression of the Christian faith.
We are truly grateful! Through various turns of events and the involvement of thoughtful people in our church and community, we have now come to the successful installation of this pipe organ. Thank you to everyone who helped us with donations and with dedicated service in order to make this happen. Join us Sunday February 11 at 3:00 p.m.
The Transfiguration of our Lord is Sunday February 11 with communion at both services. The Epiphany hymn “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” LSB 411 calls us to rejoice by walking in the light of our Lord:
“I want to see the brightness of God.
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father
In Him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus”
Then the 40 Days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday, February 14. The First Sunday in Lent is February 18 with Communion at both services.
Two verses of the Lenten hymn “O Dearest Jesus” LSB 439 set the tone for the season of Lent:
“O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what great crime hast Thou to make confession,
What dark transgression?
What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him,
Who would not know Him”
During this Epiphany and Lenten season, we are meditating on the work of Christ Jesus for us and in us!
In our Light and Cross Bearer Jesus,
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar Keith Kettner
This semester, the college students and I are digging into the Book of Psalms. These poetic expressions of the Christian life have been compiled for specific reasons. The entire book is set up in a thematic fashion, driving towards the final five psalms that each begin and end with Hallelujah! (“Praise Yahweh!”) The ultimate response of the Christian when discovering the nature of God who redeems His people is one of praise.
Yet, much of the Book of Psalms (particularly the first half) has a much different response of the Christian. When confronted by the nature of the world as well as ourselves, we cannot help but lament. Why are things the way they are? From the example of the Psalms, we can see that our proper response can go even further to “Why does God let things be this way?” God wants us to question Him, to try and understand His motives and reasons. Only then do we take a look at our only evidence for the nature of God: what He has done.
The Israelites and Jews looked to the Torah, the first five books of Moses, to learn and remind themselves of who God is. God is ever patient with those who are unfaithful and sinful. The whole history of Genesis is God remaining faithful to His promise of a Savior despite a host of sinful characters. The book of Exodus teaches that God does not leave His people in slavery but delivers them from evil, preserving them in the wilderness, giving them a new way to live, and being with them again.
Now, we as Christians have even more than the Torah. We find the nature of God in the nature of a man. The Gospels open up the patience and salvation of God who seeks sinners, raises up the lowly, and reaches out to the lost. He works in ways we don’t expect, sacrificing instead of conquering. His wisdom and patience is beyond our understanding. But we remember that He saves and He loves.
When we look to the cross and determine who our God is, we escape the lament of the present, instead praising God for the past and looking forward with hope to the future in which God’s kingdom will finally conquer sin, death, and the devil forever. Our words join with the Psalms. Praise Yahweh!
Vicar Keith Kettner