The Reverend Doctor Nathan Corl Minnich, STS
Ordained Lutheran Pastor of the North American Lutheran Church
Greetings to you in the name of Christ Jesus Our Lord, the word incarnate, who came to us in flesh, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was born to reign forever!
Our Christ Mass here at Salem this year was most spectacular and we gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus with a wonderfully large crowd and loving hearts seeking to give thanks to the Father for the gift of the +Son. Let this be a mark of intention for 2019. Let your presence at Christmas Eve be the beginning of a new life in you. Our Lord does not abandon you, so please do not abandon Him in your life. Rather, let that presence within you shine as bright as His star so that others may know of His presence in your life. No matter how much we speak of following Christ only by actually following Him are we seen, acknowledged, and believed to be true Christians. The mark of such Christians is the gathering for the Holy Eucharist, the place where Christ promised to meet us. Without this sustaining Grace we quickly wander and become lost. Thanks be to God that the requirement for such is only FAITH! The most simple and straight pathway to Jesus (called out by prophets of old, and John the Baptist) is true repentance of the wrong we have done, and the faith in forgiveness that comes through Christ alone!
The message of repentance is everywhere, and with Lent just around the corner perhaps we can keep ahold of the anticipation, our own awe-filled waiting for Christ. We are on a journey together here at Salem Lutheran Church. We are learning, singing, praying, and loving our way closer together as the Body of Christ. Without one another we would feel so alone. I am so thankful for your love and support shown to me in 2018 and throughout the Christmas season with your cards and gifts. As we look upon this New Year we can see so many great things for which we can prepare. As we look back, perhaps we see things, which could have been done differently. Change them. Make right that which is wrong, straight, that which is has been crooked. And above all things, love those around you for who they are, and give thanks to God for entangling their lives with yours.
In 2018 many of us lost loved ones, but their memory is strong among us, and their presence is closest at the table of our Lord. The veil is thin, and the vale is no longer full of tears, for the Lord is present with us, and they with Him…and too, they with us!
Let us pray together daily, a most noble duty of the day for Christians, and let us gather as often as we are able to build up what is broken, to tear down what divides, and to nurture that which needs to grow. Among and around us are those who need our love. Meet them where they are and share with them the fullness of God’s love. I have no doubt that this year will bring for us, many blessings. Continue to hold one another in prayer. This February I am again traveling to the Holy Land. Pray for me, and those under my shepherding, so that we might realize the greatness of the land where Jesus walked.
May the peace of the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ cause you to give thanks, cause you to rise each day in confident faith, and draw you to His Holy Eucharist with his Holy People!
Merry CHRIST MASS & Happy New Year!