Glory to God in the Highest
by David Dahl
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
Tough times, civil unrest, social agendas . . . and don’t forget the murder hornets – all in the matter of a few months! Lord have mercy!
We’re all scrambling to find a way forward.
So in the midst of upheaval, what do you do? You live every step to the glory of God.
We are walking into our 75th year as a family of faith. Allow me to share a piece of Scripture and a piece of Gloria Dei history. In the above Scripture passage, Paul points us to the glory and beauty of God. Even in the midst of beatings and imprisonments, Paul experienced the amazing Glory of God.
Paul unfolded all the ways this is taking place – that in Jesus Christ, God is showing the Jews that He is faithful to fulfill every promise to their forefathers, and in Jesus, God is showing the Gentiles – of which we are a part – that He is drawing those farthest from Him into His kingdom, being generous in mercy and claiming them as His children. Therefore God is bringing together the Jews –to whom He gave His promises and the Gentiles – those who are objects of His mercy, into the family of His unconquerable kingdom where the strong are to deal gently with the weak. Glory be to God.
“Gloria Dei” means “Glory to God”. Our name reflects the attitude that is at the foundation of this family of faith and a constant reminder of how we are to live.
In the early documents of Gloria Dei, repeated over and over again are expressions like, “Glory to God for sustaining us for another year.” “Glory to God for growing us beyond our current building’s capacity.”
At the end of 1963, it was apparent that they had experienced frustrations in their desire for a larger facility. President Chris Stefferud placed the concern in these words, “In our effort to build a larger sanctuary, we must not forget that our first and primary goal is to save the souls of men.” That is the glorious task. Then at the annual meeting of 1965, after experiencing God opening doors to the construction of this facility possible, they moved to officially change the name from American Lutheran Church to “Gloria Dei.” Glory to God. That is how we live.
As Paul closes his letter to the Romans, he is instructing them to fully embrace God’s power and presence – to embrace His glory and step up and push forward. That has been your attitude as a family of faith from the beginning. It’s time to take up that attitude again in these unsteady times. To God be the glory!
Living to the glory of God comes in the moments you are looked to for know-how and for guidance and for leadership. You may say, “I’m not up to this, but I know God is.” And you step up to the plate.
Living to the Glory of God is being bold enough to say that the skill that I bring to the table comes from God. The sensitivity and the wisdom that I bring comes from God. The solution to the problem has come from God. Whatever impact I have is because of God. The glory is His. Gloria Dei. That is how I live.
Today – this moment – is when the challenge of life meets the faith that God has poured into you, and by God’s grace you are given the strength to meet the challenge head on reflecting the love, strength and wisdom of God. That is Gloria Dei. That is how you live.
Something deep in your soul is saying to you: I was made for this — to behold the glory of God and to become a glorious, God-reflecting person. Gloria Dei. Glory to God. That is how we live.
Now to God who is able to strengthen you through Christ, and open mysteries to you, who is actively pulling together the human family by bringing them to obedience to Him, to the only wise God, be the glory forever! Amen.
Let us Keep and Live the Faith.
Pr. Dave Dahl
June 14, 2021
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