There are milestones, course-changing events, and other momentous days that define our personal histories. These pivotal points may be filled with great joy or great sorrow, significant success or monumental failure, or anything in between. In all cases, these events are how we mark time and blessing.
Viewing these events with Scripture’s light shining upon them, the child of God will be able to see the merciful hand of God—if not with physical eyes, then with the eyes of faith.
Very often the first response of a child of God in such times is one of thanksgiving to God. So it was that, when Immanuel Lutheran High School-Mankato [Minnesota] graduated eight seniors in a worship service on June 9th, thanksgiving, praise, and honor resounded to the Lord our God.
The ILHS choir began the day by giving praise to our Savior who is “above all” principality and power and might and dominion (cf. Ephesians 1:21). The choir reminded the assembly of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” as He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins; the prayer was then offered that “God be in My Head” and infiltrate every part of our being with His Word and Spirit.
The graduating class conveyed rich scriptural truth through its class verse. As Moses’ successor, Joshua had a monumental task in front of him—a large nation to lead in the conquest of Canaan. To Joshua God promised: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
The worshipping assembly joined the graduates in singing their class hymn. In the poet’s words they confessed the awe of coming to know that the Lord of heaven and earth would save sinners such as us. The chorus rang out: “Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.”
Mr. Kyle Ochsner, ILHS math and science teacher, addressed the class on the basis of 1 Corinthians 2:1-9. He asked the graduates: “What will you remember from your time at Immanuel?” As we get farther and farther removed from an event—such as high school—less is remembered (even things we thought we’d never forget). The “excellence of speech” and “persuasive words of human wisdom” are quickly laid aside, but the “wisdom of God,” “Jesus Christ crucified” and “preaching [teaching] in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power” has lasting power and value.
The assembly joined to sing, “Wisdom’s highest, noblest treasure, Jesus is revealed in You. Let me find in You my pleasure…If I learn from Jesus this knowledge divine, the blessing of heavenly wisdom is mine” (cf. TLH #366:5).
Speaking for the graduating class, Jessica Schreyer reflected on the blessings her class had received throughout thirteen years of christian education. In expressing thanks to the Lord, the congregation, its teachers, and parents, Jessica provided answer to the question of what the graduates would remember from their time at Immanuel.
The Graduation Day 2013 milestone will one day be eclipsed by future milestones and notable days in each graduate’s life. However, all can go forward with hearts overflowing in thanksgiving to God, while also being confident and courageous in God’s promises.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more. Amen. (TLH #54:1)