If you were like the congregation here at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, you may have heard a sermon on today’s Epistle reading from Hebrews 12. Here is verse 1 of that chapter:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
One of the purposes of the Perry County Lutheran Historical Society and the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum is to keep fresh in people’s minds the “cloud of witnesses” who have preceded us in this place. Here is a photo of many congregational members of Trinity in Altenburg which was reportedly taken in 1917.
When I look at a photo like this one, I see a group of people who ran and finished the race in days gone by, and are great examples of faithful saints. I know that somewhere in this photo must be some of my relatives. I know there must be people who our blog posts have mentioned. It is a cloud of witnesses who should not be forgotten. Their stories shine as examples for us to emulate. They can give us encouragement as we run the race of life. It is a group of people who faced the struggles of life and remained faithful. When I worship at Trinity, I sometimes imagine these folks, along with a host of angels, are worshiping there with us. I like to think that they are sitting in the balcony. I especially think of them as the pastor says, “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven……..”
I would encourage you to do what you can at your churches to preserve your history. One way that can be done is by making sure someone in the church (usually the pastor) is keeping up-to-date, accurate, and readable records of baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Here at our museum, we are blessed to have copies of the church records of most of the Lutheran churches in the area surrounding our site. Our Zion Roots Research resources are top notch.
I like to think that one of the reasons that I write these blog posts is to prevent the stories of past people who were connected to Perry County from being forgotten. These stories continue to strengthen us in our walk of faith. Remembering our past will help us as we move on down the road. It’s like looking in the rear-view mirror. You cannot always be looking at it while you’re driving, but it certainly is helpful to check on it occasionally to make for a safe trip.
We hope that you stop by our museum someday and see if you can find some stories about people that are in your special “cloud of witnesses”.