- In Strength and Faith
- On Firm Foundation
- Our Fatherâ€™s World
- Knowing How, Knowing Why
- With Love and Hope Surrounded
- To Sacred Truth
- Play On Your Harp
- Coming Through Home
- Yesterday, Today, and Forever
- The One Thing Needful
- In the Face of the West Wind
- To Sacred Truth
- Not So Wild a Dream
- From Redemption to Renaissance
- Salty Days and Starry Nights
- A Holy Restlessness
- The Cross and the Glory
- Remarks - Chapel Dedication
All but two of these addresses were presented at the worship service held in connection with Concordia College's annual Homecoming celebration. In the 1970's and 1980's this worship service was attended by upwards of 2,500 people. The majority of the worshippers were alumni of the college, some of whom attended nearly every Homecoming and others who attended only when their class was celebrating a special anniversary. Others in attendance included students, parents of students, staff and friends of the college. I always regarded this event as a singular opportunity to speak about the mission of the college in the context of the texts of the day and the "affairs of the world."
Three extra-biblical texts are important and central to the Concordia narrative. They are the mission statement, the college motto and the college hymn. These homilies are replete with references to these core texts. The college motto is Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone the glory. The mission of Concordia College is "to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life."
And the words to the Hymn to Concordia are these:
On firm foundation grounded, Concordia fair doth stand,
With love and hope surrounded from God's almighty hand.
To sacred truth Concordia, may thou 'er faithful be,
'Til "Soli Deo Gloria," we sing eternally.
In strength and faith forever, lead us where those have trod,(Words by Borghild Torvick and Mrs. Paul A. Rasmussen, music by Herman Monson)
Whose toil and chief endeavor have brought us close to God.
All hail to thee our founders, Concordia honors thee,
As "Soli Deo Gloria" we sing eternally.
The first four homilies in this collection are drawn from this hymn.
Another of my long-standing interests is the history of the college. I believe that history is a resource to our self-understanding as a community, to our discernment of the present, and to our vision for the future.
As printed here, these homilies are nearly identical to the language of their original oral presentation. That carries the advantage of authenticity but the disadvantage of containing illustrations, quotations and statistics that were appropriate to the time of their hearing but not the time of this reading for which the author begs your indulgence. In addition, the use of pronouns reflects the practices of the day and one will note some adjustments over time. It is fair to say that these homilies reflect the changing perspectives and rhetorical practices of the author -- changes readers are invited to sort out for themselves. The homiletic structure of this material reflects the common Lutheran paradigm of law and gospel.
The liturgical materials that surrounded the Homecoming homilies were planned and executed by Senior Campus Pastors, the Reverend Carl Lee and the Reverend Phil Holtan, and their assistants and associates; The Reverend Ernest Mancini and the Reverend Gretchen Person. The Concordia Band provided accompaniment and the Concordia Choir provided the anthems of the day.
Special thanks are accorded to Sheldon Green, senior writer in the Office of Communications, who offered editorial and technical assistance. And foremost, I extend gratitude to Mardeth Bervig Dovre—critic, listener, encourager and love of my life.
Paul J. Dovre