“Let us make a name for ourselves.” That’s what people said when they set out to build “a tower with its top in the heavens.” We know it as the “Tower of Babel,” human pride heaven thwarted. The Lord said, “Let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11: 4, 7).
7:00 this evening, Commencement in the Quad of Concordia Seminary. Over the ceremony rises Luther Tower, 120 feet toward heaven. It too will be Babel if our graduates go forth to make a name for themselves. God is still able to confuse the language of people, even those who use the church as a façade for human pride.
Only one common language reaches heaven, the words of Him who came down to save us, Jesus Christ. “Built on the Rock the Church shall stand even when steeples are falling, crumbled have spires in every land; bells still are chiming and calling, calling the young and old to rest, but above all the souls distressed, longing for rest everlasting” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 645, 1).
At the end of tonight’s ceremony I will say, “I declare the 177th year of Concordia Seminary closed, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and then these final words. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for Thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1). So may it be, God helping us.
The school year over, Diane and I are going to take some time off. Be back in June.