THE SPRINGFIELDER December 1971 Volume 35, Number 3 "Blessed To Be A Blessing" I'~-cs~rlel~t, Central 1 llinois District, rlii~ 1.u tl~c,l-~~n Church-Ylissouri Synod ( 19'70- 1 A I_CJllI ;lSJl JIEIIBEHS of the church observing thc anni- \-el-snn of :I Sc.minar\- \\-ill surclv be askincr 3 question about a. purpose. 1n this illl~livcrsnr\- !,car n-c thank a gracious Lord for 125 \.crtrs of c.sistcllc.c. its ;I cn~inarc'. But this tlianksgi\.ing \\-ill have ;nc:iliinL: only in proportion to the cxtcnt to \x-hicli God's gracious l>i~rposc.s ;II-C ;ICC.OIIIP~~SIIC~. To \\-hat ail \\-ere the financial struggles of tllc. pst \\-hich at ti~n~s thrcatcncd tlic \.cry existence of the Scnlini~r\- it' thcv \\.crc. not to fulfill n glorious destiny of God's pur- 1'0scI 70 \\ hat ii\;iil tlic struggles of thc Seminary stuclents in their rtt'orts to s~~cc~hsfull\. con~l:lcte tlic courses at the Seminary, while at I I tiillr he;;rillF thc rcspollsibilitv of Iicc~i~ig :I f:~niilv fed ;irltl \\-arl)l ;~rltl hc;~lth\., 1t thcsc \verc not to fulfill a great and uhiquc ~~urpose~ -Po \\ llnt l~~i'l~~~c \\-as the dedicated scr\.icc of an overloaded, undcrpaicl f;~~~lt\. for thcsc 125 years? To thank God for the gro\\-th of a Sc.min;lr!. from ;I fen- old buildings to the beautiful ca~ilpus of tocla\ docsn't iuahc scnsc unlcss \\:c arc. sensiti\-c to God's purpose for tlic. Sclniriar! . '1-0 rc\.icn- its gro\\-th in terms of students, the handful of IS46 cornl)arc.d to the 3 7 1 of 197 1, thc faculty of three in 1846 to the thirt\.-fi\.c of 197 1, has nlcaning only in terms of fulfillment of Gotl's purpose.. 'l'hth anni\.c.rsay of a Seminary is surely ;I time for thc church to ask \\hy it h;ls supported it for tliesc 125 !.ears. This is a tiilie for the cliurcli iintl the. obscr\.ing community to ask, "\\'hat is it that will tclar rt studcnt from ir successful, \\-ell-paying lifc's occupation to begin it \.ocation t1i;lt oHCrs little hv \vay of material gmds colinected with thc r4mericnn concept of succcss? \\'hat is it that \\.ill nioti\.atc a stu- dent to I)c* uprooted fro111 his family id thc sccurit!' of the com- nlunit!. in \\.l~icli lie is accepted to go to a place that is unkno\vn?" Tlic succc.ssfu1 functioning of '1 Lutheran Seminary depends up)ii the. ~lrldcrstantling of God's I\-ord to Xbralian~ as He said, "I I\ ill blCs_s \ ou, ,~nd )ou sllall be n blessing." (Gen. 12 : 1-3). ,111 dcpCllds 01; our possessing God's abundant grace and blessing. But God's blessing up011 us i~icludes His gift of understanding-under- standing His gracious purposcs for us and an ability to respond psi- tivcly to them. It depends upon a deep commitment to the God who promises, "I \\-ill bless you, and you shall be a blessing." The ~nari-el of the past 125 \-ears is that God has kept His ~womiscs even nhen rve havc failed-~im. His blessing upon us was not contingent upon our werfect performance. In spite of our fears and failures and faltering steps, in spite of a side-tracked sense of purpose, in spite of our sins, His blessings each day were as fresh as the morning dew. All of the blessings of the past 125 years have been bestoji-cd b\. Gw1 that 11:c sllolrltl be tr bl~n.jjij~g: llli- ~licss,igc of the Gospel, tllc i1edic;itcd professors and stlldcllri. :]I( I "fit( of each of thenl, the growth in nunll~c~rs, tl~c $tri,i~qtll ,ii~ti ; ilnc to perform, thc gift of the Hal\ Spirit-~-nll iiuc I)lci.ing* ri:,-cs11 to us so that we ~iligllt be n blessin. hleaningful lirin~ for all of God's pcoplc ~I~o~ilti ill~,l~i:l, 1!1'11,iliq a contribution to thc life of anothcr. J3ccausc Gotl's l~cc,jjlt; li\-c) in thc \vorld, the peoplc of the ii~orltl sho~rld be "hcttct- off." 11~11 tllc grc'atcst blessing which God \roulcl bring to people thro~~gl~ 11s i\ tl~c (;o$pcl. Gal's love in Christ, thc sclf-sacrificing lo\c of Tcs~~s, tllv i'orgivcr~css of sins, the triumphant life through thc li\.iilg-]cfli+. ~ti')-ll;lI Iiuc---- to carry the message 11-hich bcstows thcsc gifts is fill tilling ,I ~~nicluc purpose. To act out thc mcaning of thc Gospcl ill :~ttit~~clc'. \\ or(ls, ;i11c1 cIceds is an important part of fulfilling Gotl's I)urllo,c. fr.r 'I:I~crc are many \\;3ys in which Christian pcoplc ~l-tigll t clc\.c*lop ~~\1lcrtisc in making a contribution to life. But the Sc~nini~r\'s 11i:l) IlLlrjlosc must ever bc to bring thc living Christ to thc \\ orld ;inti to the* 111~111- hers of the church through the Gospel, spolicn nn(i ac~c'tl out. \\-c are the only people who can do this. God docs not ~-c\.~~tl Fli11i~clt' to the world-csceyt througl~ us. What lies ahead': Only God kn0n.s. Jlut \\ l~atevc~r 1ich ill the future for Concordia Scmin:k!. must bc shnpctl ato~~ntl thc ~~~irj~o~c~ of heitlg rz blessiug. \Till the curriculum chnngc? If this i, 11cctlctl to fulfill the purpose of being a blessing, indeccl it \\.ill. \\-ill t1icl.i' 1)c nciv buildings? \\'ill enrollme~lt incrc:\sc? \'C7ilI \\.c ;~cltl to fnc~~lty? \'C7ill our pcoplc continue to suly,ort our S(b111 illat-\.- ;I 11t l i~~c~rc,nse it? Thc "right" ans\\.crs to 1111 thcsc clucstions ran i~11! 1)~. ~.c.c.ci\.c.d from a gracious God as we reinnill scnsitivc to his p~~rj~osc--to 1~ ;I blessing. \'C'ith this awesome, singleness of purposc. thc tlcstin? of our Seminary remains secure-in spitc of strnnyC jo~irne~s th!-ough paths not trod before to a plncc choscn by Got1 to fulfill' Hi; plan. (Gcn. 12: 1-3). Blessccl-to bu a Blessing! In this lies t11v I-cbast,n t'o~ our deep gratitude for thc good things of thc past 125 !.cars. In this l ics tl~c exciting hopc, the confident direction, and thc . jo~.ous . task of thi. future.