Church was pleasantly full at the early Divine Service today. Don't know about the later one. I was blessed to serve as cantor for Introit, Gradual and Alleluia verse. The irrepresible joy of the Church shown from the first notes of Kantor Muth’s Lasst uns erfreuen. We received “the gifts Christ freely gives” (and we sang that hymn too!) with a certain sobriety, given the events in the country and world of late. But Pastor pointed us solidly to the peace that comes from hanging on the words of Jesus, a peace that the disturbances of the world drive us ever more to seek after. And amidst a world where change and uncertainty and a profound sense of dis-ease surrounds us, where everything we vainly imagine firm and certain inevitably gives way, to gather around the words that will never pass away and to sing the age old liturgy and the sturdy of hymns of those who went through far worse than we've ever dreamed and yet who kept on singing and testifying to the peace that is in Jesus, to kneel with them at the altar and receive the priceless gift of this world’s ransom, and to have had the old prayers in our mouths and in our hearts this day...well, yes, “a haven of peace for an exhausted world” indeed.
This afternoon at 4:30 p.m., the congregation will gather once again to sing a solemn joyous Vespers. We'll be installing a Kantor, a deaconess, a principal, and a new teacher. The gifts Christ freely gives includes these wonderful PEOPLE whom He sents to serve us and to serve with us. Choir will be singing, bells will be ringing, trumpet sounding, strings humming, and the organ leading. If you're in the area, come and join us by all means.