The Congregation caught me by surprise. I was not expecting it. I did not know you knew. And on sudden notice Leslie needed to fly out of town the day before to Dallas, Texas, so she wasn’t here for it. I speak of the reception after the Divine Service, on Sunday, June 10, for celebrating the 35th Anniversary of my ordination.

Word had gotten around that Pastor liked pie better than cake. How did anyone find this out? And so there were seven different pies made for the occasion! Yum.

And some very kind words were spoken. Of course the accolades were exaggerations, but the affection and gratitude intended in their expression warmed my heart and were encouraging.

How gratifying to hear tributes echoing leading themes I intend in my preaching, teaching, and pastoral care. Themes such as being Christ’s centered, as recognizing the authority of Scripture, as in knowing that faith comes from the hearing of God’s Word, and as in understanding that our life in Christ is one of ongoing repentance and the need to hear the word of forgiveness, were being bounced back.

And there was another aspect to the Divine Service on June 10 that I will not soon forget that made the day special. Due to Leslie’s unexpected absence, and Tom Rislow’s planned trip away, we were without piano accompaniment! I suggested during the announcements at the beginning of the service that we attempt the liturgy and hymns a cappella. I suggested we try it, and if it didn’t work we would try something else.

Fortunately for us, Mike Meunier was the Assisting Minister, and he was prepared to give us the pitch and lead us all the way. What followed was simply beautiful. We have such a good singing congregation! Although we are all glad to welcome the accompanists back, we were not hamstrung by their absence. It was just one more thing to make the day memorable. Thanks!

Since You Asked…

Why do we stand during the reading of the Gospel Lesson?

By standing we are giving expression of special respect and adoration. In the Gospel Accounts we meet our Lord Jesus Christ in a special way. In these writings we are presented with Jesus’ Judean and Galilean ministry. We also have a record of the very words of our Lord (his teachings, parables, dialog, etc.). We hear the accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the work of our salvation.

Although the entire Bible is the Word of God, it is in the Gospels that our Lord is most directly presented to us. So you might say that Christ himself is being presented before us in the Gospel Lesson. It is therefore most appropriate that we stand at attention.