June 13 marked 25 years from when I was ordained into the Office of the Public Ministry, a.k.a. being a pastor. My lovely wife, Jen, and my loving congregation, Grace Lutheran Church, conspired to spring on me a celebration of the occasion on June 10. And their conspiracy worked. I was surprised and we celebrated.

I was surprised by the touching forethought, generosity, and creativity. I was gifted with a beautiful glass Bible memento, a humbling array of expressions in notes and cards, an unveiling of a snazzy make-over of the church narthex, and a deee-licious barbecue ribs, brisket, and fixin’s lunch — with homemade pies for dessert! I was not at all surprised by the love and affection that went into every bit of planning and keeping the whole thing a devious and calculated secret scheme.

And we celebrated — the real occasion. The real occasion was what makes every gathering of God’s people a celebration — the grace of God. Anniversaries and any and every other such life milestone is ultimately a testament to the favor of God given to undeserving people all for Jesus’ sake. Serving as a pastor is not an achievement of a man. It is the divine work of God, using a sinner to serve sinners with forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

Thank you to all who attended, and all those who were kind enough to add to the celebration with Facebook comments and "likes." Some of you don’t even know me and you joined in anyway. To each and every one of you, "Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good and His mercy endures forever!”

Peace and love in Jesus,

Kevin Wendt