With Jacob at the brook Jabbok I say: “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac…I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies” (Genesis 32:9-10).
Having graduated fifty years ago this spring from Immanuel Seminary, I say “Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the privilege and honor of proclaiming Your saving Word in various pulpits within our synod fellowship these many years.”
I also thank you, brethren, for the privilege of having served as Editor of the Lutheran Spokesman, our synod’s pulpit, steering the month-by-month content and direction of the magazine for thirty-plus years (366 issues since July 1984).
All along the way I did what I could to dot the proverbial i’s and cross the proverbial t’s linguistically and theologically. The holy goal was always to clearly and accurately proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, as that gospel is encapsulated in the treasure chest of the written Word which “cannot be broken” (our Spokesman’s byline from John 10:35). By God’s pure grace alone that Word remains among us what it has always been—the divinely and verbally inspired message from God the Holy Spirit for the world. As such, it deserves to be upheld, defended, and boldly confessed before each and every blood-bought soul who reads the magazine.
Now as the editor’s mantle is passed to another, my prayer and confidence is that our Spokesman will ever be genuinely Lutheran—that is, an unapologetic witness to the sixteenth century Reformation principles of salvation by Scripture alone, by grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, without the works of the law—a salvation which through the indwelling Spirit produces a hearty, joyful, and fruitful faith before the watching world.
Allow yet some kudos. Speaking of dotting the linguistic i’s and crossing the theological t’s, we give special thanks to Professor emeritus Paul R. Koch (as he retires too from his position as assistant editor) for the month-by-month sharing of his literary skills and theological insights over the last sixteen years. Thank you, staff writers all, for meeting the deadlines of your respective assignment(s)—above all, seeing to the scriptural soundness and spiritual edification of what you write. Thank you to the CLC’s Board of Education and Publications as it facilitated this editor’s transition from cut-and-paste snail-mail days to e-mail and digital PDF-ing. Thanks also to other long-time partners in this holy business—Business Manager Benno Sydow and Designer/Graphic Artist Matt Schaser. Their on-going faithful behind-the-scenes contributions are a gift from the Lord of the Church to us all.
In summation, Thank You, Jesus, for all Your mercies and all Your truth shown to Your servant.
Sail on then, Spokesman helmsman and crew, until through Jesus’ merits our respective ships of life are safely docked in heaven’s harbor.
Preserve, O Lord, Your Zion, Bought dearly with Your blood; Protect what You have chosen Against the hellish flood.
Be always our defender When dangers gather round; When all the earth is crumbling,
Safe may Your Church be found.
Preserve in wave and tempest Your storm-tossed little flock; Assailed by wind and weather,
May it endure each shock.
Stand at the helm, our pilot, And set the course aright; Then we will reach the harbor
In Your eternal light.
To God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—
-alone the glory! Amen!