The Demolition of ULC, by Pastor Mark Preus

August 5th, 2012 Post by

Found on Pastor Mark Preus’s blog, Lutheran Hymn Revival. This is a blog for me to practice writing Lutheran poetry and discussing it, especially in its hymnic form. Constructive comments are very much appreciated.


This hymn is on the demolition of ULC and its being set aside for profane use; so it contrasts holy use with profane use, and therefore faith with unbelief, Church with world, etc.

It is sung to the tune by Stephen van der Hoek; the sheet music is at the bottom.


The demolition of University Lutheran Chapel

O Jesus Christ, our temple,
True God, enfleshed for us;
The dwelling place of sinners,
The Lord our righteousness.
Have mercy on us, Jesus,
When sin succeeds to own
The outward things that please us
Through which Your truth was known.

There stood the font before us,
Revealing who you are;
The altar there received us,
And gave your brothers more
Than earth and mammon offer,
Than all our works could win,
For there your blood and body
Gave pardon for our sin.

Now see the pulpit crumble
To men who have no care
For what the poor and humble
Came every week to hear.
And loved ones are divided,
Despite your Spirit’s call;
Man’s reason has decided
To let your temple fall.

And glass that told the story
Of what we need to live,
In haste for wealth is shattered
For what the world can give:
More mammon for their worship,
More space to spread the lies
That persecute your children
And Your pure Word despise.

But though my heart is broken,
A song of praise shall rise
Against the pow’r of evil,
Against the devil’s lies.
Let outward forms all perish,
There still remains the Word,
Which never will deceive us,
But calls us to our Lord.

Where two or three are gathered
In Your most holy name,
God, Father, Son and Spirit,
There all our guilt and blame
Are banished from the heavens
More surely than the stone
Which in our sight has crumbled;
No, we are not alone.

We stand with all the martyrs,
Who shed much more than dust;
Their blood still gives their witness,
Gives courage unto us,
That we have lost here nothing;
God’s kingdom still belongs
To those who cry, repentant
With David’s psalms and songs.

For though he built no temple,
Yet God raised up for Him
The Temple of our Savior,
Who ransomed him from sin.
And God now dwells among us,
Enthroned in flesh and blood,
To free us from destruction
And give us every good.

So, mourn, brothers and sisters,
But sing to God with joy,
Who gives us precious treasures
Which no one can destroy.
His Word still gives His Spirit
To sinners in their needs.
Our temple is above us,
Where Christ our Savior pleads.

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  1. Noreen
    August 5th, 2012 at 10:35 | #1

    Thank you, Pastor Preus, for Gospel words in the midst our hurting hearts……

  2. Wallenstein
    August 5th, 2012 at 13:18 | #2

    If this were to pass, then maybe, just maybe, the power of a district to bulldoze a thriving congregation could be greatly diminished:

    Are there any Steadfast Lutherans on the task force? It would definitely be in our best interest to have Confessional input and to see such an effort succeed.

  3. Lumpenkönig
    August 5th, 2012 at 22:05 | #3
  4. Joanne
    August 5th, 2012 at 23:56 | #4

    You all do know that Concordia Austin is now just a scrape on the ground? It’s chapel was bulldozed too. They got lots of money for it so they could buy a business complex way out in the cedar brush and make a new Concordia. I imagine the old Concordia Milwaukee suffered some such similar fate. And, good old St. Johns in Kansas is a municiple center for the elderly and social services. Concordia Portland looks landlocked to me. It may need a segway someday soon. We’re just too poor of a church to afford to keep our history and grow. The saddest thing to see though are the over-built churches that used to serve these old LC-MS campuses, that are now poorly attended. They seemed so mighty when filled every Sunday with hundreds of students. Now they struggle.

    Abraham was a nomad who lived in tents. He moved whenever his flocks needed fresh pasturage. We have no physical history for him, but he is the father of nations more numerous than the sands of the sea or the stars of the sky. He was nimble, as perhaps we can be to become more than the sands of the sea and the stars of the sky.

  5. Carol Broome
    August 6th, 2012 at 00:42 | #5

    @Joanne #4
    ULC is a nimble, effective congregation. More so that most, I believe that they are fully able to be nomadic if necessary. I pray that this necessity will not be theirs for very long.

    However, their church building was not ‘history’. It was not overbuilt. It was not a museum. It was being actively well-used by a living, growing congregation, and a large number of students. God’s people were being baptized, married, confirmed, and nurtured in the Faith here right up until it was deconsecrated.

    Sometimes congregations do die, and sometimes they must be let go. But this one was attacked by her own church body, in the most egregious possible fashion. This situation is in no way comparable to that of a dying church.

    Thankfully, the MNS district convention saw fit to provide for ULC far more generously than the district’s BOD would have.

  6. Oliver Young
    August 8th, 2012 at 19:25 | #6

    Today, August 10, 2012 AD, at 10:30 AM, at the former home of University Lutheran Chapel, Minneapolis, the wall that had held one of the sets of stained glass panels forming a cross above where the altar had stood, was torn down, leaving only rubble.

    Peter Wagner, a student member of ULC filmed this final act:

    Lord have mercy and forgive those individuals that wrought this evil.

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