100 Years and Going Strong
While touring magnificent churches on our Germany reformation tour, I was disheartened to hear that approximately 5-10% of the population in many cities regularly attend divine services. Obviously soaring majestic altars, outstanding organs, and stunning stained glass windows aren’t drawing people to worship on Sunday. What does?
Last Sunday, a packed out sanctuary, in a town (population 400) on the prairies of South Dakota celebrated with enthusiasm and praise 100 years of fellowship. Why?
Many of the adults in this congregation are ranchers and have faced drought conditions, bitter winter blizzards, and low prices. Some have experienced health problems.
It seems the splendors that mankind comes up with only draws people until the novelty wears off. People who keep going to church are hungry to hear answers from God’s Word concerning realities of life. People who see how the world has no answers for meaning or purpose value God’s Word for providing answers to these questions even under the most difficult circumstances. It was wonderful to be in a group of people who understand God’s love for them and rejoice with them in the Lord’s salvation.
Their warm fellowship, open thankfulness for Jesus’ finished work on our behalf, and trust in a gracious God truly were an example of a congregation being the right form of the kingdom of God on earth.
I was baptized, confirmed, and married at Bethel Free Lutheran Church in Faith, South Dakota. I was reminded that there are still unreserved spots in the Sletten section at the Faith cemetary. History records that my grandma was one of the early organists. While in high school, Grandma and I had been entering the church when one of the members pulled up in a very nice new car. Grandma was happy for them and reminded me that she had on more than one occasion pulled up to the church in a buggy pulled by horses.
As many things change over time, one constant remains, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) NAS: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.