On Sunday, March 5, as I sat in a worship service in Palmar Arriba, in the Dominican Republic, I was reminded of the words of the Psalmist and our responsibilities in this current generation as the people of God. The Psalmist Asaph writes in Psalm 78:
5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.
Here’s the picture…
As you know, we are one of the international partners helping to support that effort to plant Lutheran congregations and a new Lutheran church body in the Dominican Republic. I was in Palmar Arriba, the Dominican Republic, for the FORO meeting (which is the partners’ meeting).
I am robed sitting next to Sergio Fritzler who had served as the president of Concordia Seminary, Argentina. In front of me was Pastor Ted Krey. Next to me were several pastors; one from California, two Dominican vicars, and Pastor Carlos Schuman who is the lead missionary in Chile. We are there for the installation of Pastor David Preus as Pastor of the congregation and seminary professor.
It was a wonderful service! There was the baptism of a baby. There was a confirmation of a young man. There was the installation of a new missionary. And there were children from our Palmar school singing. The video is attached. Please take the time to listen to it. While, like me, you may not understand the words, you will recognize the melody of the songs they sing. And after the children sing, they recite the 10 Commandments.
That is when the words of Psalm 78 began to echo in my thoughts, as well as our SWD tagline, Confessing Christ for the next generation … The words of the Psalmist describe what we are to be about and why…’that the next generation might know [the testimony, the Holy Scriptures], the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.’
The events of Sunday, March 5, 2017, will be branded into my memory for a long time. While you were not there, and I only for a short few days, you are what make that video a reality. The next generation is learning about Christ Jesus and His love because of our partnership with the church plant in the Dominican.
My prayer is that there are similar stories about the children in your community as you and your congregation reach out with the good news about Christ’s love ‘so that they should set their hope in God.’
Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom on so many fronts!! God bless!
Rev. John C. Wille, President SWD