Enjoy this look back at the anniversary celebration held Sunday, September 29!
Bringing the Good News, the Praises of the Lord
The theme chosen for the anniversary celebration is from Isaiah 60:1-6, the appointed Old Testament Reading for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. The theme is drawn, in particular, from verse six: “A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come, they shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.” In this chapter, the Prophet Isaiah , by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells Israel that the light of Christ will unite people of all times and places, of all nations and languages. All will see the mercy God had on His chosen people, and they will flock to it. Nations will come to Him, desiring mercy. And because God declares His almighty power in showing mercy and pity, He will give it. This is the heart of the Epiphany of Our Lord: He is revealed as the universal Savior, the God who has mercy on all and will die to save all.
And that same message is the heart of Epiphany Lutheran Church. By God’s grace, He uses us to bring the Good News, the Gospel that Jesus Christ has come, and by His death and resurrection He has brought about forgiveness and reconciliation with God. By His Word, faith is created, faith which believes that “Christ has suffered for us and that for His sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us” (AC IV 2). This faith is sustained by the Word and the Sacraments, the gifts of God that deliver Christ, which is to say, they give forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. This Good News and reception of all that Christ accomplished for us motivates our praises of the Lord, praises which tell all those around us of the wondrous things our God has done.
This theme is at once a statement of purpose and a prayer. First, it reminds us of the task Christ has given to us as His Bride, the Church; as a congregation; and as individuals. As the holy Christian and apostolic Church and as a congregation in that one Church, we are sent forth to bring the Good News and to lead the praises of the Lord. As individuals, we are told to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). This naturally leads to prayer. We realize that we cannot do this on our own. So, we fall to our knees in humble prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You desire that all hear Your voice, turn from their sin, and live eternally with You. Send us Your Holy Spirit, that He would give us opportunity to share the Gospel of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and that He would give us the words to speak, that all may hear and praise Your Holy Name. It is our hope that this theme reminds us of our unity in Christ and our purpose, not just in an anniversary year, but always. —The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Committee
Saved by God's Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9