Part of a continuing series…
I am a Lutheran because of three important pastors in my life. Pastor Willard Niederbrach instilled in me a solid understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ and why I needed such a Savior. In my late teens, +Pastor Raymond Wessler+ was instrumental in pulling me back into active worship attendance. He also led both my wife and I through adult instruction before we were married. When a move took us away from easy access to church, our participation again began to wane and +Pastor Ronald Moritz+ reached out, cared for us, and got us connected to a congregation nearby. I am a Lutheran because these pastors cared enough about me to reach out in mercy and love to not let me drift away, to speak to me about my sin—that is, discipline me with God's Law, to tell me about the forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus, and to provided ongoing instruction in the faith through the liturgy.
These faithful shepherds of my youth never saw in me much in the way of results, but through their preaching, teaching, and care, their imprint upon me has been indelible. I think of them often and thank God for men such as these.
One of the hymns I learned in choir as a youth has one of the most amazing lines. It was astonishing then and it still is for me today. I am thrilled to see it restored to us in Lutheran Service Book. The hymn is "O Darkest Woe" (LSB 448); the line is "Our God is dead." Here it is in stanza two: