One Local Event, One National Event

zion-walburg

This week I share with you reflections on two recent events, one local and one national:

Local: This past Monday night Zion Lutheran Church and School in Walburg, Texas held its 45th annual Wurstbraten, a German sausage dinner. Proceeds are used to support church and school projects. Hundreds of Zion members worked to feed over 4,000 people. Including sales of sausage by the pound, Wurstbraten workers produced and sold 13,500 pounds of pure pork sausage!

Terry and I are active members of Zion. Our church is known for more than simply a sausage supper. Yet this event brings together members of church and community who work side by side to prepare and conduct this historic dinner. In addition, it gives wide visibility to our congregation, most likely bearing fruit that won’t be known this side of eternity. To God alone be the glory!

National: Late this past Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, depending on what part of the country you’re in, the results of the national election for president of the United States of America were announced. It’s a reality that regardless of who had won the election to become our next president, roughly half our nation would not be happy with the results. Time will tell whether the choice of American voters through the electoral process proves to be wise or otherwise.

It’s important to remember that the God of the universe uses people and events, good or bad, to accomplish his purposes. Throughout history God has used some leaders to prosper his people and other leaders to punish them. While we would all prefer prosperity, punishment is sometimes necessary, not only for individuals but also for nations. America is no exception.

God told the Old Testament people of Israel: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

That’s my prayer for America, wistfully with help from the leadership of our new president but more likely under the influence of those of us who proclaim the Name of Christ and promote the biblical values we hold so near and dear.

150 Years of Blessings!

Zion WalburgThat was the theme of this past Sunday’s observation of the 50th ordination anniversaries of three retired or semi-retired men who are also active members of Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. That’s the rural congregation of which Terry and I are active members. We’re blessed to have Rev. John Davenport as senior pastor, his wonderful wife Lynn at his side.

The three men and their wives are:

  • Bob and Jean Greene
  • Wilbern and Betty Michalk
  • Glenn and Sandra O’Shoney

These three men, accompanied and supported by their dear spouses, have served the Lord and his church faithfully in numerous capacities:

  • Bob Greene: parish pastor; President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South; Chairman, LCMS Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance
  • Wilbern Michalk: parish pastor; mission developer; numerous circuit and district roles and responsibilities
  • Glenn O’Shoney: parish pastor; mission developer; President, Texas District LCMS; Chairman, LCMS Council of Presidents; Executive Director, LCMS World Mission

All three are graduates of Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Ill., now in Fort Wayne, Ind. Bob and Wilbern graduated in 1963, Glenn in 1962. As one can tell, their 50th anniversary celebration, clearly appreciated by all, was a bit tardy. Better late than never!

Festivities of the day included a sermon focused on:

  • Thanksgiving to God for his blessings in the lives of these six men and women;
  • Biblical qualifications for the office of overseer/pastor and the difficulty/impossibility faced by every pastor in endeavoring to fulfill them completely;
  • The calling of God for all men and women who have been reconciled to God through Christ to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world.

The services were followed by a congregational lunch, including a touch of humor in a round of “The Not-So-Newly-Wed Game.” The game allowed these couples to share with the crowd some basic information about their lives, backgrounds, marriage, children and ministry. It was a fun way to help the congregation learn about these wonderfully dedicated and committed couples!

The idea was initially suggested by my dear friend, Dr. Will Sohns. The Board of Elders did most of the planning. I just preached and presided at the NSNWG. Not surprisingly, my dear wife Terry expressed words of appreciation to Jean, Betty and Sandra, and presented each of them a long stemmed rose to match their husbands’ boutonnieres.

You may want to consider something similar for your pastor, including retired men who may not have actually served your congregation officially but are dedicated and committed members. The honorees will be appreciative, your congregation will be blessed and God will be praised!