This text was written to the glory of God on the occasion of The Rev. Dr. Harold L. Senkbeil's 45th anniversary in the Office of the Holy Ministry, celebrated on September 29th at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The tune composed for this text is EPISTLE by Phillip Magness, Director of Music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Take courage, brothers, in the Lord,
In face of danger, terror, sword,
Of hatred, scorn, or strife;
Be not afraid to suffer loss
As boldly you proclaim the cross
That throned the Lord of Life.
For on that cross our great High Priest,
From bonds of sin has us released;
Our debt He paid in full!
For Christ alone could sin redress
And robe us in His righteousness,
Like snow or whitest wool.
You are the ones God recommends,
The very letters that Christ sends;
Not scribed on slabs of stone,
But penned on hearts by hand unflawed,
The Spirit of the living God—
Go forth and make Christ known!
Yours is a ministry of grace!
Reflect God’s love with unveiled face,
His glory to reveal:
God’s splendor that will never fade,
His grace in Christ, for all displayed,
In Word, at Font and Meal.
These mysteries, God’s gracious means,
By which His Spirit sows and gleans,
Are trusted to your care;
Be faithful in your stewardship,
As saints for service you equip,
With nurture, love, and prayer.
Be strong, beloved, God’s dear ward,
Though parted now from Christ our Lord,
You walk by faith, not sight.
Come, make your aim the Lord to please,
Each timely moment gladly seize,
To toil while fades the light.
Soon comes that Day for which we yearn,
Our gracious Master’s sure return;
Let zeal your duties fill!
Unworthy servants all are we,
And yet through us the Trinity
Performs His saving will!
Praise God the Father’s love in Christ.
Whose plan of rescue sacrificed
His one and only Son;
Extol His Son, the Lamb once slain,
The Spirit’s praise be our refrain--
Thrice Holy Three-in-One!