New Beginnings

Sep 19th, 2017 | Category: A Final Word, Columns
By Rev. Daniel Gard

I am grateful that Dr. Shirley Morgenthaler has undertaken the editorship of the historic Lutheran Education Journal. As a world-renowned scholar and a major—if not the major—leader in Lutheran, early childhood education, her knowledge, experience and wisdom is critical at this point in time.

Lutherans have always cherished education. In fact, Concordia University Chicago (the first Concordia) was founded in 1864 to train German-speaking teachers for the new Lutheran schools being established throughout the young United States. When German immigrants began this institution as the Addison Lutheran Teachers Seminary, they sought to bring the educational mission to the field that opened before them. Waves of Lutheran immigrants needed the Gospel, and their children needed education rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of that mission our Lutheran schools had their genesis.

Lutheran education is firmly rooted in the past yet its future is brighter than any of us might imagine. But that future can be ours only if we trust in our gracious Lord to direct and sustain us and to open our eyes to what He is giving us today and tomorrow. As we pray in the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come” and as we have learned from the Catechism, “The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.”

Today the mission has not changed. Our Lord’s commission to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19 ESV) speaks as clearly and loudly as ever. But so does the mission field, except that it is no longer in German alone but in English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic and hundreds of other languages. I say that the mission field “speaks” because these are human beings created by God and needing to be connected to the One who has created and redeemed them. It is within this increasingly diverse and secularized culture that Lutheran schools can and must exercise the mission and ministry given to them.

In this issue of LEJ, you will read articles that focus our attention on the future of Lutheran education. I am honored to be a small part of this Journal and to be a small part of the formation of a new generation of Lutheran teachers here at Concordia. We need never fear the future because Jesus, the Eternal One, will be there leading, guiding and sustaining us with His grace. On to the future with the same mission but a new mission field. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 ESV). LEJ