Home » District Presidents, Headline

Sin and God’s Grace

July 28, 2015 No Comment

by Don Schiemann

President Don Schiemann

President Don Schiemann

As District President, this is probably the last devotional article I will write for The Canadian Lutheran. Our District will soon have its newly elected president to look to, as well the Interim Pastoral Leader to be appointed by Synod.

I have served in the ministry for 39 years; the last fifteen years have been in the office of District President. In 1976, I attended my first District Convention as a newly-minted seminary graduate in what was then called the Ontario District. At the Convention banquet, the guest speaker was the now-sainted Rev. Dr. Frank Malinsky. He was in his early 90s at the time and had been asked to reflect on his many years of ministry.

“I can summarize my ministry in two words,” he said. “Sin and grace. My sin and God’s grace.” The rest of his talk at the banquet consisted of illustrations and experiences that expanded on his theme. I don’t remember the illustrations or the experiences he shared. However, I have never forgotten the theme of his presentation.

I’m not even going to try and compare my years of ministry with those of Dr. Frank Malinsky—but I will echo the accuracy of his theme, particularly as it relates to my years of ministry, especially these last years of service as a district president.

We are all too keenly aware that our district is currently at a crossroads in light of the crisis in CEF and ABC District Investments. There needs to be new leadership in our district—and there will be, God willing, as a result of our convention. Our new district president will need the support of our people as he undertakes his servant-leadership role. He will also need to be kept in the prayers of our people. Most of all, he will need the grace of God in Jesus Christ to serve faithfully and well.

The wonderful news of the Gospel is that for the sake of His Son, who died and rose for our salvation, God grants grace in abundance. St. Paul speaks of this in his first letter to Timothy: “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst”  (1 Timothy 1:14-15). I believe this is what Rev. Frank Malinsky was referring to when he spoke of his service as one of sin and grace.

The wonderful news of the Gospel is that for the sake of His Son, who died and rose for our salvation, God grants grace in abundance.

As I end my service as district president to the Alberta–British Columbia District of Lutheran Church-Canada, I do so in gratitude to God for His gift of an all-sufficient Saviour. My prayer for our Church is that we will remain faithful in the proclamation of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. My encouragement to the new district president comes from the words of that well-known hymn:

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory!
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore His sacred name.

Sola Deo Gloria!

———————

Rev. Don Schiemann is President of the Alberta-British Columbia District of Lutheran Church–Canada.