2017 has the double honor of not only being the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, but it is also marks the 125th anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church in Mitchell, SD. This month we are taking some time to reflect and give thanks to God for 125 years of blessings to Zion Lutheran Church in Mitchell!
In her 125 years of history, Zion has been served by no less than 21 pastors. Each of them played a unique and significant role in shepherding the congregation to be what it is today. And what an incredible journey it has been! Zion has her faithful pastors to thank for being with them every step of the way.
But a Church needs both pastors and people. And the members of this congregation have made this congregation the treasure that it is. It is amazing to me how many countless hours are volunteered for the sake of Christ and this congregation by so many people. One time I tried to add up how many volunteers we have throughout the congregation. I quit counting when I got over 100! God has given each one different gifts, talents, and interests. What a gift it is to serve in the places where we have been placed!
And yet, pastor and people alone do not make a Church. Christ our Lord is our cornerstone, who sustains us by His body and blood given to us in the Sacrament of the Altar, and who washed us clean and counted us as His in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. It is through the Word made flesh who speaks to us in Word and sermon day after day, week after week, year after year that we live and move and have our being. It is by Him alone that this congregation is still here and still vibrant after 125 years.
As the years go by, some traditions are continued, such as the Christmas Eve Candlelight services. Others have fallen by the wayside, such as the German Christmas Choir. And still others have risen up to meet the challenges and people of a new day, such as the Bratwurst feed in July. But through it all, God’s comforting and abiding presence in Word and Sacrament stay the same.
This month, we celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving. As we do, we also offer a prayer of thanks to our Lord who has blessed both this congregation and the Lutheran Church for so many years. I pray that this steadfast, stalwart group of Lutherans remain strong in the Faith as they have for the last 125 years until the day when Christ returns!