Dedication of Concordia Prep. School, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Luke 19:1-10 (ESV)
He entered Jericho and was passing through.  And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
“Today salvation has come to this house… For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” Today Salvation has come to THIS house, to Your House, To Riverton. Because we the body of Christ, who is the Son of Man, are here to seek and save the lost.
Utah Lutherans, The wild west bunch, some days I think you are crazy. I remember almost 17 years ago, I had actually just dropped out of high school, (and yes I think it just a bit Ironic that I should be preaching at the dedication of a high school.) or at least those were my plans, about the first thing on my to do list when I got to Montana, where I was going to work on a ranch. My dad was taking me up there and amidst a little awkward silence we drove through Utah. I saw a sign for a Lutheran church, and asked my dad, do we have churches here? Little did I know…. Graduating seminary, I still had a hard time believing their were Lutheran’s in Utah, and crazy enough to call me. But I can’t tell you how much I enjoy working with you nuts. The wild west bunch of Lutheranism. Shooting up hill all the way. People tell you your crazy, and you just look and say something about faith, and God will work it out, and go about doing what you plan on doing.
So now we’re here, in a new building. It wasn’t an easy road was it? I am thinking back on the last 6 years serving on the board of directors. We sold that property behind the school and started looking for a new place. And it hasn’t been easy, not by a long shot. I’m not sure how much easier it is going to get now that we are here. I’m banking that it’s going to be a little tough. But I’ve stopped underestimating the wild west bunch, the Utah Lutherans. You guy’s seem to make things happen against all odds. God uses you, he brings salvation to this house, that you might seek and save the lost.
And that is what this school is about, that is what Holy Trinity is about. You know that, and that’s why you make it happen. That is why this tiny little community in Utah, keeps on plugging away, shooting up hill, taking the ground, planting churches and operating a school. This doesn’t happen everywhere. But it happens here. Some might think their money is better spent elsewhere, their time on different things. Not you. Oh I’ve watched you send money to Africa, and I’m fairly certain I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg on all of that. But you guys know that you live in the midst of a mission field, and you know God has placed you here in Utah for a purpose, and you work for that, to seek and save the lost, right here, right now. Your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, and if that means donating money to a school, driving 45 minutes to an hour after work to sit at a meeting, delegate or directors, you do it. oh it isn’t always a walk through the park. Feelings get trampled. I’ve watched it. I’ve felt it. But then I’ve watched you forgive each other, as Christ has forgiven you, and plow on. And things look bleak, and then doors open, miracles happen. They do. We’re here. A new chapter, in the history of Utah Lutherans.
A new building a new investment. This is no small thing. Not by a long shot. You know that. I have people at times wonder why congregations and churches spend so much money on buildings, like Judas they start spouting off about the poor in Africa, as if we don’t take care of them. About the poor in our community, as if building a new building, or remodeling an old one is at odds with taking care of them. I think of the jobs we create, with our own hard earned money. But I also think of the testimony a building gives, and the work that is done in a building like this when salvation comes to this house, when sinners walk through the doors to be educated, and receive salvation. And then we rejoice with angels.
I mean do you know what a soul is worth? Do you? Do you know what yours is worth? There aint enough money in the world to buy one, You couldn’t buy your own. Know the salvation of souls, souls are purchased with the blood of Christ. Souls are purchased with his death and resurrection. This is what you know. You know what Christ did to save you. And you know that this is what he did for your neighbors too. And then you watch as your money, your time, your effort that can’t buy a soul for nothing, pays off in a soul being saved. We hear about them. Do you rejoice? The angels do! And you should too. Party with them! Because yeah your money can’t buy them, your work can’t save them, and yet God uses you, God actually uses your money and your time and your effort to bring them salvation, the salvation that Christ wrought for us on the cross, the salvation that today has come to this house. The salvation that comes to this house, where God works to bring sinners to repentance, this house through which he comes to seek and save the lost. And we watch it happen here. We watch it as as high schoolers are baptized. As our children have their faith nurtured and strengthened in daily theology classes, and chapel. We watch it take and bear fruit as students graduate, go to college, and return to work in the community and support the mission work done here, and join in the fight an shoot uphill, because God uses you, to bring salvation to this house, Utah Lutherans, the wild west bunch, who just don’t seem to know where faith ends and crazy begins.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.