If there is one word that could be consistently applied to our household these days, it’s “change.” Our family is about to experience a wave of sizable changes, starting this weekend as our younger daughter graduates high school and will leave for college this fall. Our home life is going to be forever altered as another one leaves our nest, and we will be down to a single kiddo at home. Next weekend, we travel to see our older daughter graduate college as she is poised to launch further into the world. Part of that launch comes a few weeks later as I walk her down the aisle to be married to a wonderful guy. Our family will be forever altered still more as we gain this new son.
I’ve never been an Olympic ski-jumper, but I think I can identify with the feeling of being poised at the top of the ramp’s edge as I stand looking at the change coming these next short weeks. That’s a long ramp. That’s a lot of change.
As Kossuth, we’ve also been reminiscing about change as we come to our 75th anniversary as a church. Last Sunday we had the joy of hearing some of those stories from our history team. (While I know she didn’t do it single-handedly and will defer to others, a HUGE shout-out and thanks to Chris Zimmerman for all her amazing effort to pull together Kossuth-through-the-years history and presentation!) It was inspiring to be reminded of Kossuth’s rich missions legacy from a panel of multiple generations of missionaries (including Eric and Cheryl Elmer, Kossuth’s first sent-missionaries!). I was humbled and challenged to hear stories of saints no longer with us who paved the way for this church to thrive.
I calculate that 75 years is about 3,900 Sundays, give or take a few due to leap years, blizzards, and the like. That’s a lot of gatherings! Much has surely changed over those 3,900 Sundays. Clothing styles are an easy visual: check out those older pictures, on the Kossuth ramp to the gym, for clothing styles, glasses styles, and hair styles… or ever hair at all, for that matter!. The brick and mortar has surely evolved: a storefront got expanded to a church room, that got expanded into a sanctuary, that was expanded into a new auditorium. And as we heard last week, many of the ministry activities & methods of reaching out have experienced great variety.
After our celebration this weekend on May 5, Kossuth will begin its 76th year the following weekend on May 12. We could label this our “3,901st” Sunday. In spite of all the variety and change over the decades, I praise God for some of the foundational elements that will not change. Our focus will be, unapologetically, precisely the same as the roughly 3,900 Sundays before it. We will meet in the scriptures, examining them with care to orient ourselves around God’s word. We will unite our voices as a single chorus in praise to our Creator and Savior through God-centered and Christ-exalting songs. We will seek to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to draw near to the one who draws us near, and to learn to worship with our whole selves; to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And we will continue to express the very Good News that people can be brought into right relationship with God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
May those things never change!
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.