Dear Brethren, assembled for the eighteenth annual convention of the Norwegian Synod, Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
The Lord said unto his disciples shortly before he was to die: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Conditions in the world today and for the past few years have been such that many a heart has been troubled. These conditions have also influenced our congregations, both spiritually and in a material way. The pastors and congregations have been on trial for their faith. Some have gone under because they let go of the Life-saver, while others held on and have been strengthened. The Lord said: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” The apostle John writes in his first epistle: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” All depends on our possessing Christ in humble faith. If we hold fast to Him as our God and Savior, we will also be given the courage of our convictions to endure all the trials and temptations that will come to us as Christians, and in Christ we have the sure hope of attaining the glories and triumphs of eternal life.
Not by our power and wisdom shall we build the Kingdom of God, but alone by the power and wisdom of God, given unto us in His word and sacraments.
One thing, however, we must never forget; and that is that all our work must be done in faith and love to God and to the glory of God. Otherwise none of our deeds, be they ever so great in the eyes of man, will ever amount to anything in God’s Kingdom. But let the humble pastors and laymen, that believe in Christ and do their work out of love to God, take heart and go forward, because the Lord hath promised that all such shall do. great things in the sight of God.
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”