A Message from the Pastor         

 

A man one day asked his wife if she’d like a new Diamond Ring to celebrate their anniversary. “Nothing would make me happier!” She replied. So, the husband got her nothing.

And with that…happy anniversary Emanuel Lutheran Church!

125 years is a long time and much has happened in our world since this congregation was established, and you can know what’s changed by remembering that when the first worship service was held, there were no cars, no airplanes, no radios, no movie theaters, no television, no air conditioning, no refrigerators, no computers, and certainly no internet. Likewise, if you wanted to buy something you’d better have the cash, there was no such thing as VISA or MasterCard. What you and I take for granted in 2021 weren’t even on anyone’s radar…which by the way also hadn’t been invented yet.

The world was certainly different then. Life was simpler perhaps. But the challenge of bringing people the message of Christ had its hurdles just as we have today.

I have in my office a book of daily devotions written by the first president of the LCMS, C.F.W. Walther, written around the time of the American Civil War. The devotions are excellent, but what I find amazing, is that as you read them and he expounds upon the difficulties the Church had in reaching the lost, as well as having to deal with those who held false ideas about Christ, you realize how much our world hasn’t changed.

One of my favorite devotions from that book I printed in one of the Lamps a few months back. A portion of it reads, “The world, with its learning and power, is like a sea stirred up by a strong storm. It attacks the ship of the Church, whose destruction appears to be inevitable, and it seems as if Christ is asleep at the helm. The members of the Church, who are still of little faith, already cry out in despair: “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” Many, full of doubts, may abandon the ship of the Church and plunge back into the sea of the world. Yet, there is no cause for alarm. Christ remains aboard our ship, and according to his divine omniscience, omnipotence, and care, he does not sleep. When his hour comes, he will rise up, rebuke us for our little faith, and say to the wind-driven world, “Peace! Be still!” Then the world will be stilled, and the ship of the Church will enter into the harbor of heaven.”

When Emanuel first commenced worship services and outreach efforts, they faced many of the same challenges that face us, people who are indifferent to God and worship. Perhaps the one thing that we face that they didn’t is open hostility to our faith in this country. Nevertheless, just as that devotion above states, there is no safer place to be in this world than in the “boat” of Christ’s Church. So, it is a happy anniversary, and we can celebrate that God’s Word and Sacraments are still firmly taught and distributed in this congregation.

It is an honor to be the pastor of this church for this significant occasion and I pray that our world 100 years from now will still find folks gathered in this place to hear that Jesus has taken our sins away on the cross.

Serving our Savior,

Pastor Roloff