There are times we simply need to celebrate. That was the kind of day it was at Holy Cross in Collinsville on Holy Cross Sunday, September 13. The congregation feted the 100th anniversary of the church building. A century ago when the church was dedicated it was the end of a long and arduous process. Financial problems, as always stood in the way. Pastor Von Strohe was suffering from shattered nerves. He would resign in October 1914 shortly after the cornerstone was laid. He had missed numerous congregational meetings citing a need to be visiting in the members’ homes. In 1912 three long time leaders in the congregation died. One had been in the first confirmation class back in about 1854.
But the Introit for Holy Cross Day calls on God’s people, in the words of Psalm 98, “Sing a new song unto the Lord, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and holy arm have worked salvation for him.” Too often in the church we are stuck singing the old songs, laments about lack of members, money and enthusiasm. Often divisions create disunity resetting the walls of hostility which Christ destroyed in his death on the cross.
Thus it was good to be a part of Holy Cross’s celebration on Sunday. After an outside lunch, they displayed the items in the metal box set into the cornerstone in October 1915.
Sometimes we just have to celebrate and set aside the challenges that are ahead. Holy Cross has had a pastoral vacancy for a year. However, they are blessed in having a member as vacancy pastor and three other members who are pastors.
Karen Shimkus had heeded the words of verses 4-6 of the psalm.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth;
Break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!
Karen didn’t have any lyres, but she did have an orchestra, the organ and children’s and adult choirs.
I rejoice that Holy Cross had an opportunity to rejoice and give praise. Such times can help us remember that our success and joy is not in our success but in that of the Lord of the cross.