A Message from President Gurgel

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Our Synod-Wide MLC Family,
Aren’t there many times, as we live as sinners in a sinful world, where we find ourselves thinking: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”?
We say that when life situations bring frustration to our hearts or tears to our eyes. We say “But it shouldn’t be that way!” as we bemoan what’s become of God’s perfect creation.
And, when we’re honest, the times we say “But it shouldn’t be that way!” with the greatest regret come when what’s troubling us flows from our own hearts. Then “But it shouldn’t be that way!” becomes the cry of a repentant heart!
But in the wonder of the Christmas gospel, the statement “But it shouldn’t be that way!” becomes not a sad litany of trouble but a joyful chorus of praise!
It begins as Mary is compelled to lay the little One she has delivered to sleep on the hard wood of a feeding trough. As we remember that this One sleeping on that rough wood is not only our brother but also our glorious Creator, it dawns on us: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”
It continues as we watch him for 33 years walk a path that makes him “a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3). We are led to say again: “But it shouldn’t be that way!’
And then comes the day when the rough, unforgiving wood on which he lies and falls asleep is not a feeding trough but a Roman cross. There our God and brother humbles himself all the way to the point of death under his Father’s judgment. There we exclaim most of all: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”
And in all of that, we are not seeing something sad but something gloriously wonderful! The One who falls asleep on that rough, unforgiving wood completes his Father’s saving plan for all of us and for each of us!
No, none of this was as it should be. Yet all of it was as it must be (Matthew 16:21) for us to be known as forgiven daughters and sons of his eternal kingdom.
As a small gift to assist in your celebration of that wonder of saving grace this Christmas, please enjoy the video below from our Martin Luther College Choir. The anthem And You Will Sleep has a text written by MLC staff member Laurie Gauger-Hested with music composed by her son Philip Biedenbender.
In Him,
Rich Gurgel
President, Martin Luther College