50 years and counting

We have been graced by another Reformation Weekend. Over 500 years of celibrating the firestorm which was, and in some cases still is, the Reformation. Thanks be to God for Martin Luther and the other Reformers of the Church, who’s courageous stand changed the course of much of the Church, and changed the course of countless lives along the way.

Also, this weekend marked 50 years of ministry and mission for the congregation of which I am a member, Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA.

 We marked this great milestone with a wonderful pipe organ concert on Saturday evening,  given by the gentleman who donated the organ to us, Dr. Wilbur Melbye of Pasadena, California, followed by a fabulous dinner put on by the Davis and Gratzinger families, members of  LCM.  The dinner was followed by a slide presentation narrated by our current pastor, Pastor Mark Anderson, and our congregation President, Louise Saywer. There were many great old photos from the early days. A terrific reminder of the work that has gone on before us by others in the stream of faith.

Retired pastors Doug Wessell and Robert Collick spoke to us to share some memories of the time they were the pastors here at LCM, and encouraged us to continue our mission here in service to our Lord Jesus Christ, and the community.

On Sunday we gathered for worship and Holy Communion accompanied by the choir and pipe organ music played by Music Director and pianist/organist Tanya Khurgel. The sermon was given by our special guest and recently retired professor and author James Nestingen. Professor Nestingen reminded us that it is not the knowledge of the truth that sets us free, but rather the Truth itself (Himself) who sets us free.

After fellowship and indulging in some terrific leftovers (from last nights spectacular dinner), we gathered back in the sacntuary for Prof. Nestingen’s class on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer,  “Lord forgive us,  as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”  We learned that to be free from our sin and the sins of others, the Lord would have us give them to Himself, both our own sins and the sins of others against ourselves, and as often as necessary. Over the course of time, because Christ Jesus is at work, those sins that are caustic and keep us stuck in the past become less and less a millstone around our necks, and we are once again free to live. It was a terrific class with a great question and answer session. Our great thanks and appreciation go out to Prof. Nestingen for once again making the long trip South to be with us and to encourage us in the faith of Christ Jesus, our Lord.   Thanks Jim!

50 years…500 years…a drop in the bucket in the course of human history and a speck in the universe and span of God’s eternal Kingdom. But the Lord does a great work in these small moments. His mighty work is always accomplished for that which He intends.    

May He continue to bless our congregation and every congregation where His name sounded as the Name above all names, and the one Name by which men and women are brought to a living faith in the Savior of the World, our Lord and our Savior, Jesus the Christ!