Remembering Our Past, Celebrating Our Present, Anticipating Our Future

by Rev. Donald Anthony

As I prepare this Bible study, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, its officers, delegates, and members are preparing for, and praying for, our Synod’s 64th Regular Convention in Houston, Texas.

This year, among many matters, the convention, our church’s official legislative body, will review and vote on proposed changes to how our church is organized, especially on the national level.

This will not be the first time our church body has considered changing the way it organizes itself, and most likely, it will not be the last.


In this life, we all experience change, often on a regular basis. So also it was with God’s people in the Bible.

Read Deut. 34:1–8. Now review Exodus 1–4 and recall the life of Moses. What kind of change did Moses confront when God called him for His purposes?

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God used Moses to be a blessing to the children of Israel, just as He used all of His Old Testament servants to be a blessing to others. We also can celebrate how God has blessed the LCMS to be a blessing in the life of people in our day and age. Here are just four examples:

1877: At a meeting in Fort Wayne, Ind., the Synodical Conference decides to begin work among the “American Negro.”

1894: Rev. Theodore Naether and Rev. Frank Mohn are commissioned as missionaries to India.

1922: The Alabama Lutheran Academy opens (now Concordia College, Selma, Ala.)

1958: Lutheran mission work is organized in South Korea.

Consider this question: In your own life, how has God used you to be a blessing in your congregation? Among your family, friends, neighbors? Has He used you to help someone facing change?

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After Moses died, there was a period of mourning, and then God appointed and enabled Joshua to lead the Israelites into the future. Read Joshua 1:2. What is Joshua told to do?

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Although Moses, the servant-leader was dead, God’s work and plan for His people continued. As with the children of Israel, our church will experience change, our family situation will change, our health will change, our financial situation may change—without a doubt change will come to all of us. Yet, God’s love for us, His plan for us, His mercy for us will not change. It remains constant. As a church, as a people, as individuals, we can celebrate and anticipate God’s good plan and purpose for us.

Read Rev. 22:1–4. What does the angel show the apostle John? How can this comfort us in the face of change?

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As faithful members of the body of Christ, we anticipate the power of God’s will and work among us. The “Lamb of God,” who takes away the sin of the world, continues to provide for us. He leads us in the paths of righteousness. He blesses us to be His people doing His work in His world. While we celebrate our past, give thanks for our present, and anticipate our future, we also acknowledge the changeless presence of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. And with St. John, we say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

About the Author: Rev. Donald Anthony is chairman of the LCMS Board for Black Ministry Services and pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Concord, and Crown in Glory Lutheran Church, Salisbury, N.C.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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