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Immanuel by Anne Moege
It stands on a gentle hill, surrounded by signs of the eastern South Dakota way of life: fields of soybeans and corn, lofty silos, Holsteins, and red barns. Its steeple sweeps 110 feet into clear, fresh skies. Twilight travelers and alfalfa balers note a quiet, red glow, the steeple's cross that guides one to Immanuel.
Its members have survived raging January blizzards and thunderstorms brewed in July heat and humidity, have contemplated the circle of life - baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, have struggled during a century swayed by fading morality and faith. Still the members know an eternal truth: God is with us.
Within its walls, faith is nurtured through God's Word. Old hymns are sung; children learn Bible lessons and Luther's catechism; friends recount the week's events over potluck meals. Within these walls, folks pray for forgiveness and perseverance and give thanks for crops and health and life. Here Christ's body and blood heal hearts and strengthen souls. Time will continue to pass, and the world will continue to decay. But in this place, the Spirit of God remains.
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)