A New Thing at Carthage
by Jens Notstad
Since August this year, I have spent much time and energy on the campus of Carthage College, a small liberal arts school on the north side of Kenosha. I have prayed, fasted, walked, run, biked, played basketball, lifted weights, cheered at volleyball games, cooked hot dogs, eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner, drank coffee, led Bible studies, spoken at large groups, taken naps at the library, and fairly often wondered what the heck I should be doing.
Regardless of the worth of these activities (and others that deserve no mention), there’s always been a sense that they were leading to something more, pointing to a greater reality. What is missing at this campus? How can I really serve the students? What does God want? It’s a Christian school, and there are other ministries on campus, some of them very strong. Aren’t they okay without me, without the Church?
Of course not! God’s call to His Church in Wisconsin is to raise up altars to Him, the one true God, wherever we go. The truth is, there are plenty of false altars set up to idols, as innocuous as they may appear: Money, Success, Physical health, Attractiveness, Happiness, Comfort, My Life.
How do we combat these counterfeits, these seemingly good things that lead us only to despair and the question “Is there nothing more?” How do we respond?
We raise up an altar. An altar to the Living God, the one True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the King of the Universe: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The God of the Church. By this simple act, by worshiping Him in Spirit in Truth, in Word and Sacrament, we win. We are more than victorious, actually: we join in God’s eternal victory over sin and death. We retell the History of Salvation, we step into the story at His table, and we are sent to share that story with others, bringing the light of Christ’s hope, healing, and power.
Darkness scatters before us.
At Carthage College, we are raising up an altar. We are meeting weekly on the morning of the Lord’s day, hearing his Word, confessing our sins, proclaiming our common belief, and partaking in his body and blood. It’s a simple act, and it is more than enough. The Light of Christ Parish is growing, slowly, simply, and surely, by worshiping and reaching out. There is much work to be done, but we are yoked with Jesus, which is an easy yoke, a light yoke – the lightest, in fact. Which is good, because there is much more work to be done!
August 24, 2017
July 31, 2017
September 16, 2015