“Yesterday” (the song) was released by the Beatles in 1965.  While today I am thinking about many “yesterdays”, I am not really singing the lyrics to this song.  “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.  Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.  Oh, I believe in yesterday,” is what McCartney wrote as the beginning of the song.  Rather than focusing upon regrets (thankfully “his grace is sufficient for me” too – not just St. Paul), I am more thinking about the blessings of yesterday – while at the same time anticipating the additional new ones that tomorrow will bring.
On this day in 1976 I turned 23.  At that time I was living in Chicago, finishing my Masters in School Administration.  Monica, my fiancé at the time, was also a student at Concordia, River Forest as she completed her BA in elementary education.  As we made plans for our July 31 wedding we also were praying about where the church would place us as Lutheran School teachers.  Our request of the placement committee was simple – or so we thought:  Place us together in an elementary school in a small town in the Midwest.
A year later, as I turned 24, things were not quite as we had requested.  We were living in Warren (12 Mile and Hayes) – certainly in the Midwest, but not quite a small town.  Each morning Monica would drive north to 19 Mile and Hayes (St. Paul’s Lutheran) to teach 1st and 2nd grades (along with multiple additional responsibilities) and I would drive south to Charity Lutheran, Detroit (Morang and Kelly).  Since they could not find a teaching position for me in the metro-Detroit area, I was serving as a Director of Christian Education for a church with no school.  My responsibilities included children’s and youth ministries, adult education, and whatever else needed to be covered at the time.  To this day we still have multiple friends from both congregations (even though Monica only served at St. Paul’s for one school year).
On this day in 1981 I turned 28.  We had become first-time parents four days before Christmas and were making plans to move to St. Louis, MO.  My seminary classes would begin immediately after Memorial Day.  We did not know what we would do with the home in Detroit that we owned, nor where we would live in St. Louis … but that is another story to be told on a different day.
Two years later, as I turned 30, we were back in our home in Detroit.  I was the vicar at Charity under a great mentor, the Rev. Karl Trautman.  Later that year, on our 7th wedding anniversary, I was ordained and installed as the pastor at Charity.  Two months after that our second son would be born and baptized.
On this day in 1995 I turned 42.  A little over a month prior I had been installed as Senior Pastor at STL.  Darryl Andrzejewski was the Associate Pastor.  John Todt was the principal of our school.  Mary Keller was Office Manager and Lori Stolzenfeld was the Minister of Music.
While I am not sure of the year – or years – this day has included a wheelchair ride through the school (for the old man) and the gift of a turtle (because I was slowing down).  There were some nicer gifts, too (like a Prince Fielder jersey).  While my memory is not perfect, it seems like these things took place in 2013 – though 2003 likely had some festivities as well.  One of those years the family surprised me, as well.  I am hoping that the day this year, as I turn 70, goes by without incident … a visit yesterday from our GSRP students and staff should take care of things at STL.

That’s enough – perhaps too much – about yesterdays … the tomorrows on my mind are Sunday and the week after.  I do not know what to expect from any of them.  My farewell tour was tough enough.  This past week – mixing so many farewells with the MSU shooting – has been no easier (By the way, different STL families have direct connections to one of the victims and the shooter).
The theme for all of these yesterdays … and all of the tomorrows is summarized nicely in a Song of Ascents“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121.2-8)
And the really good news is that these words are not just for me, but for all of God’s children.  Paul McCartney may still be singing, “Love was such an easy game to play.  Now I need a place to hide away,” but our song can always be “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise him all creatures here below.  Praise him above all heavenly host.  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”  Because God is good … all the time – yesterday, today, and every tomorrow that follows.  And I am hoping that I can hear you, and all God’s people saying, “Amen.”

Yesterday … and Tomorrow