“Tell us, art Thou He that should come to reign over Thy people Israel?” With these words the congregation of over eighty friends of the seminary began the traditional service of Advent Lessons and Carols in the Martin Luther chapel on Sunday, 4 December.
Through readings, hymn-singing, and choral pieces, they were led into the wondrous mystery of God’s incarnation—beginning with the promises of the coming Messiah in the book of Isaiah, then the birth of John the Baptist and the annunciation of Christ given to Mary, finally concluding in the familiar but ever-fresh words of St Luke: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
The service saw two choirs proclaiming the joyous message of Christ’s birth through the gift of music: the choir of Resurrection Lutheran Church, led by Dianne Humann, and the seminary’s own choir, led by MTS students Elisabeth Rehr and Laurin Fenn. (The service folder is available here and an audio recording here.)
The service was followed by coffee fellowship during which the seminary celebrated the
80th birthday of her founding father, Dr Roger Humann, and the 75th birthday of the longest-serving president, Dr Jonathan Grothe, as well as the 80th birthday of Rev. Erwin Brese, who served as an adjunct member of the faculty. Dr John Stephenson recollected his own entry into the seminary faculty, and pointed out how the emeriti, the current professors, and the contemporary student body represent the past, the present, and the future in the chain of servants of the church.
The evening concluded with a dinner the student body hosted for the seminary community and area pastors.