Rev. Michael Diener
I have a cross that was given to me on my ordination day. The cross was a gift from my father. It is something that I greatly treasure. One of the reasons I treasure it so much is that it was first a gift given to my father by my grandfather on his ordination day. Maybe one day I'll have the honor of giving it to my son. What makes that cross valuable to me is not because of the gold it's made of or its intricacies—it's that it is something that has been passed down from generation to generation.
A far greater treasure has been passed down over the ages. It is the church. I want young people and future generations to know and value this precious gift. It is the gift of the church that equips us to face the daily assaults of the devil and our sinful nature.
What gives the church a value that exceeds the most precious of treasures? In one word, the answer is Christ! The church is a haven for sinners where Christ bestows His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Through the church, sinners are baptized into Christ and covered with the robe of His righteousness. Through the church, the very Body and Blood are given so that the people of God can taste and see the forgiveness won for them by Christ's once-for-all sacrifice. The church is where the forgiveness of sins is freely proclaimed to the repentant.
Martin Luther wrote, "If you knew how many fiery darts the devil was shooting at you, you'd run to the Sacrament of the Altar every chance you got!" It is my prayer that the generations to come would know and cling to the treasure that is the Church—in other words, to Christ—and that by doing so they would rejoice in the priceless gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation!
Rev. Michael Diener serves as pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Holts Summit, Missouri.
Created: May 12th, 2016