Today, May 4, the congregation of St. John Lutheran Church, Beardstown, IL, will give thanks to God for a century of blessings that He has showered down upon them in the holy space where they gather to hear His word and receive His sacraments. Though St. John's was officially organized in 1848, the people have been worshiping in the current sanctuary for the last hundred years. The extensive renovations it has undergone the last few years are finally complete. The theme of their celebration is Psalm 80:19, "Restore us, O Lord." The focus is upon a two-fold restoration: first, the restoration of the sanctuary, where the glory and beauty of God are reflected architecturally; second, the restoration of sinners through the mercy and grace of the Father in Christ.
The pastor at St. John, the Rev. Doug Evenson, was one of my students at Concordia Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Lisa, contacted me a few months ago to ask if I would write a hymn for their celebration, a request I was eager to accept. The text of the hymn is below. I would like to thank the Evensons, along with the congregation of St. John, for the privilege to pen a special hymn for their celebration. May our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, continue to watch over this baptized flock.
Hymn for St. John’s Lutheran Church, Beardstown, IL Celebration of One Hundred Years in St. John’s Church Building Tune: Ewing (e.g., “Jerusalem the Golden," LSB 672) Author: Chad L. Bird May 4, 2014
This Holy House of Gospel
This holy house of Gospel, This home of Sabbath rest, Where Christ our Lord restores us, Where His name is confessed, These many years has sheltered The baptized flock within, Whose shepherd is the Lord’s lamb, The sacrifice for sin.
This church is built securely On Christ our cornerstone, Restored to mirror beauty That shines from God alone. Midst wood and brick and mortar Constructed for the King, We gather in His throne room Where saints and angels sing.
Within Your house, O Jesus, Where heaven hallows earth, Restore us in the fountain, The waters of new birth; Restore us from the pulpit, Through words of truth and grace; Restore us at the altar, Where we behold Your face.
May praises to our Father Within these walls resound. May Christ and His salvation For sinners here be found. And may the Holy Spirit, That true and gentle dove, Work in us and among us, True faith and hope and love.
+++If you would like to read more of my hymns and poems, check out the book I recently published: The Infant Priest: Hymns and Poems. Included are approximately 20 hymns and 80 poems through which the believer gives voice to the trials and blessings of a life lived in Jesus Christ.