The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. (Psalm 18:30)
Dear members and friends of Grace,
How many of you have bowled a perfect game? In a game of bowling the highest possible score is 300, and it is achieved by bowling twelve strikes in a row in a single game. If you are not a bowler and do not know how that adds up to 300, I will not even attempt to offer an explanation. Most bowlers dream of bowling a 300 game, and we think of that achievement as something rare. Actually, however, where records are kept with the United States Bowling Congress, over 50,000 perfect games are reported each year. So bowlers, keep trying. Maybe that perfect game is within reach!
Late in the year 2017, this pastor reached the number 300. It was not in bowling or any other game, and it was not a mark of perfection. On the last Sunday of November this pastor preached his 300th Sunday sermon at Grace Lutheran Church. It was not announced. It was not noticed by anyone but the pastor, and it is a number that came and went without any fanfare. But it did stir a few thoughts about perfection.
The ongoing ministry at Grace Lutheran Church is highlighted each week by our Sunday services. That is no surprise. Sunday morning has been the time of contact with God's Word for Christians throughout the centuries. We choose to come before God regularly, weekly, in response to the marvelous grace of God. We imperfect sinners come to him because he came to us. In a humble manger the Son of God was laid. He came to save sinners, and to restore us to God. He was like us in every way, except without sin. He offered his life and shed his blood because none of us could offer to God a sufficient payment for the guilt of our sins. He opened heaven to us, because our sin had caused the door to be shut in our faces. We call his grace amazing because we who were lost have now been found; we who were blind now can see.
So we gather as a group. We make sure we have a place to do so, and a man to lead our time of worship. We listen to God’s Word and we look forward to receiving our Savior’s body and blood in the Sacrament for the reviving of our souls. Our singing is not perfect; our prayers are sometimes half-hearted; our attention is hard to hold; but we come, because “the Law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19), and “the Word of the Lord is flawless” (Psalm 18).
Perfection is found in God alone. But through Christ he reaches to us and washes away our imperfections. He forgives our sins. He renews our spirits. We come to find peace that is lacking in our day to day lives. We come to have our faith revived and our hearts comforted by the perfect Word of God and by the reminder that we are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
The number 300 has come and gone - nothing perfect there. The number 2017 has now come and gone, and we are well aware of our imperfections and sins in the year past. We are also aware of the pain and sorrow we endured over the past year, as well as the joys and milestones. Perhaps we are hoping that 2018 will be better. That hope can help if our hope is in God. His past faithfulness brings us hope for the year ahead. His continued faithfulness will certainly be realized. May his perfect love continue to reach out to you and revive your heart. Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!