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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ebenezer

Of all my letters that I have sent out for this school year, not one of them comment about my Residential Field Education Church, the church I serve at on Sunday mornings. When I first heard about my assignment to Ebenezer Lutheran Church, I was expecting anything when I walked into the church. But once I had walked in, I had quickly become welcomed by a group of heartwarming people. I look forward to worshiping with them every Sunday.

Now the people inside of my RFE church are wonderful and sharp. My morning begins with walking into the lower floor for the Bible study with about a dozen people. The pastor, Al Schenk, has lead the Bibles studies, if not my fellow seminarian Jeremiah Gensch. The things we have studied this school year include the Epistle to the Romans and the prophetic literature from the Old Testament. Everyone in the room has participated and contributed to the discussions that help the class as a whole and learn something new and discover even more value the Scriptures.

The time between the Bible study and Sunday morning worship is my time to hear how the people of the church are doing. During this time I had found out that a guy named Steve used to work at my position at the grocery store Schnucks. He too worked with my manager in the seafood department. We talk about the fun things and the struggles of working in the department. Now he is retired as like most of the other people at Ebenezer. The pastor himself is about to retire this summer as well. Though he is loved by the people of Ebenezer, it is time for him to take care of his family in Florida.

As the culture of the neighborhood around Ebenezer has changed much quicker than the culture of Ebenezer, many of the people of Ebenezer have moved away from the neighborhood. As for reconnecting with the neighborhood, currently, they have a parochial school that ministers to the kids. Also, the church is in the process of calling a pastor who is experienced in serving a culture similar to the church’s neighborhood.

The Sanctuary of Ebenezer.

As the worship service is about to begin, has the ushers or Ebenezer welcome God’s creatures at the entrance of the upper room, the sanctuary. In this room, about thirty of us gather to hear God’s Word and God’s Good News. After the bells ring, the organ plays the opening hymn, and the worship service begins. Between myself, Pastor Schenk and Jeremiah, generally two of us will lead in Sunday worship. We rotate taking turns. One preaches, one speaks the liturgy, and one observes. Well, Pastor Schenk doesn’t sit back and observe, but you get the idea.

The Scriptures that are spoken for the service follow the Lutheran liturgical church calendar. The hymns reflect the selected scriptures for the day. But usually at the end of every service, you can count on the closing song, Jesus, Name Above All Names. You may listen to the tune of the song played by Ebenezer's organist, Larry Loveless, at this web page: http://www.sylvanfinger.info/blog/ebenezer/
And here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
Jesus, name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer living Word.

Verse 2
Jesus, loving Shepherd,
Vine of the branches, Son of God,
Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor,
Lord of the universe, Light of the world.

Verse 3
Jesus, way of salvation,
King of kings, Lord of lords,
The way, the truth, and the Life,
Mighty Creator, my Savior and friend.

If neither the Scripture readings nor the sermon won’t touch your heart, the last song will. As the last line of this peaceful song says, “Mighty Creator, my Savior and friend,” God’s love for his creatures and his glory is proclaimed. This why Ebenezer gets together and comes to worship Sunday morning.

God’s blessings,
Sylvan Finger

Ebenezer Quilters of 1994.

Ebenezer Quilters of 1994.