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Immanuel Lutheran College Commencement

Closing Concert and Graduation

A seat in the back row was a good choice just to spare my hearing from overload, for the ILC Spring Concert on Friday evening (May 18) at Messiah Church was powerful! Time and again the choirs’ majestic “Alleluias” took crescendo flight to fortissimo heights. Wonderful! Awesome.

Not that all pieces shook the rafters. The Creation Hymn moved moderately in jig tempo, Shalom/Pacem/Peace flowed in Jewish descending cadence, Beautiful Savior was sweetly gentle, When You Woke that Thursday Morning floated lyrically, and even Crucified’s fortissimo faded away with piano refrain.

Perhaps the most heart-touching piece was Before the Throne of God Above with its gently melodic confession: “My life is hid with Christ on high; with Christ, My Savior, at my side.”

Thank you, Director Prof. John Reim and singing students!

Then on Saturday morning (May 19) under bright sunshine Immanuel Lutheran College (all departments) closed the school year with our Commencement Service. As retiree Professor Michael Buck led the procession of faculty and graduates into the Fieldhouse, our hearts and voices joined to sing, “Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving to God the Creator triumphantly raise” (WS2000 #792).

Perhaps you have noticed this hymn’s recurrent mention of light (“His light goes before us … As forward we travel from light into light … His Son is the bright Light within us to shine … “). Bolstered with “…a Light to the nations…” from the antiphonal reading of Isaiah 51:1-6, light became the worthy sub-theme to ILC President John Pfeiffer’s address “Leaders or/and Followers” based on the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel.

Among the edifying remarks we heard were:

“Some leaders are ready to lay down the lives of others, but Jesus laid down His life for others….”

“Keep your ears attuned to His Shepherd’s voice as you leave ILC….”

“The Light shining in you will shine through you…to lead others in a chain of hands, for we are both leaders and followers….”

Seminary graduate Mark S. Tiefel received his diploma and will serve in the pastoral ministry at Bethel Lutheran Church of Morris, Minn. (replacing retiring Pastor Elton Hallauer). Nicholas Marzofka and David Greve closed out their four-year college program with B.A. degrees. Graduates with a B.S. in Education were Sherman Carstensen, who will serve at Trinity of Watertown, S.Dak., Joshua Ohlmann, who will serve at Messiah of Eau Claire, and Megan Rehm, who will serve at Immanuel of Winter Haven, Fla.

Thirty high school students filed across the stage to receive their diplomas from Principal Jeff Schierenbeck. We join faculty, parents, and friends in wishing (praying for) their continued growth in godliness and Christian service.

Following that, Board of Regents Chairman Pastor Ted Barthels took opportunity to thank the Lord Jesus for the thirty-six years He granted to Prof. Mike Buck in service to Him at Immanuel Lutheran College. Pastor Barthels also presented a retiree’s plaque and Thank-You money gift to Prof. Buck. In his touching soft-voiced acceptance, retiree Buck delivered a short tribute to Jesus, crediting the Savior with the host of blessings that supported him during his career at ILC.

After a standing ovation in loving appreciation of Prof. Buck’s work and words, the assembly joined hearts and voices in singing the traditional Alma Mater, always the poignant reminder that “God has set [established] our Alma Mater, guiding hearts and minds.”

“Built on Jesus’ words of promise, O Lord, bless her well!” Amen!