From Mark Hricko, Senior Pastor …
In two Sundays, our church family will celebrate the Reformation, marking the birth of the Lutheran Church, which got going in 1517 and commemorates the life of Martin Luther, a brilliant, imperfect person who became a cheerleader for grace. As one who has had the honor of preaching steps away from Luther’s grave and presiding at a celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the Castle Church where he fixed his 95 Theses, I will give thanks for the One he pointed to, who saves us by grace alone. And as we sing it at St. Andrew, I will remember the tears in my eyes as I sang Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress” in that sanctuary where he often preached.
On this coming Reformation Sunday, we’ll also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of our congregation, which got going in an elementary school in Silver Spring in 1949. I already know it will be a happy day for me because for more than 22 of its 70 years, St. Andrew has been my church home and a cheerleader for grace in my life and in those of more people than I can count.
And so, when I come to worship on the weekend of October 27th, I’ll also come thinking about the last of our founding members whose funerals I conducted and got this great adventure of grace going when they were only in their 20’s. I’ll think about others who passed this way and served and gave and kept the chain reaction of grace going throughout the years. I’ll give thanks for the community of faith that raised our kids in Christ, comforted us in our losses, and encouraged my walk with God in a thousand ways, both at our former home on Georgia Avenue and here at New Hampshire and Norwood. I’ll remember sacramental moments, spiritual milestones, choir anthems, praise songs, and the sound of absolution when forgiveness and freedom were announced and proclaimed. I’ll also look around and praise God for those who are part of the gathering today including those who are brand new to us. And I will pray that those who have yet to come to St. Andrew will find us to be a cheerleader of grace in their lives when they do.
Happy Anniversary St. Andrew! Thank you for being a great church home where grace happens, not just for Lutherans, but for every one of every place and every season of life, including me. Thanks for being my spiritual family and for helping me see the world through the eyes of grace in Jesus. And thanks for your readiness to keep the chain reaction of grace going for the hope of the world.