DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3: PUT YOUR CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR.
Wednesday, November 27
DIVINE SERVICE, 7:30 P.M.
“Come, ye thankful people, come”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since November 1 is All Saints Day we always keep the first Sunday in November in celebration of this festival of the Christian Year. It is a glorious festival in which we rejoice in the great reality of the communion of saints, that blessed company of all who are Christ’s both in paradise and on earth. We especially remember all those who have loved and served Him here on earth and who now rejoice in His nearer presence. We together with them look forward to that Last and Great Day when the risen Lord will appear in glory as Judge of the living and the dead and will raise from the dead the bodies of all who now rest in Him. According to the usage of the word in the New Testament all who are Christ’s are “saints,” that is “holy people” – holy not in ourselves but holy because in Baptism our sins have been forgiven and we have been clothed in the spotless robe of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. But from ancient times the word “saint” has especially been given to those in whom the light of Christ has shone more brightly: the virgin mother of our Lord and Savior, the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors through all the ages. And all of us can think of those we’ve known whose lives were bright with faith and hope and love.
It is our custom especially to remember members of our congregation who have died since the last All Saints Day. This year we remember our dear sister in Christ, Ethlyn Gosnell, who fell asleep in the Lord on October 16 and was given Christian burial following the funeral service here in church on Friday, October 25. May she rest in peace and may the Light perpetual shine upon her. And may the risen Lord Himself comfort all who mourn her departure.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Germany this past month. It was delightful in every way – not least the German food and drink! Among other things I was able to see the city of Rastatt where one of my great-great-grandfathers had lived and the city of Bad Wildungen where one of my great-grandfathers had lived before coming to Baltimore. There I saw the church where Philip Nicolai served as pastor in the late 16th century. He is the author of what we Lutherans call “the King and Queen of Chorales”: “Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying” (LSB 516) and “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (LSB 395). I visited Wittenberg and there saw the Castle Church of All Saints, the City Church of Saint Mary and Luther’s home; I attended Divine Service in the Chapel of the Old Latin School which now is an international center for faithful Lutheranism. I also visited the tomb of Saint Boniface (672-754) in Fulda. Because of his great missionary labors he has been called “the Apostle of Germany”; his name appears in the list of commemorations in our Synod’s present hymnal.
I think that we are all grateful for the new lighting in church. I for one had not realized how dim the lighting had become! Many of the bulbs had burned out but now they have been replaced with LED lights which will last a very long time.
The third Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day. On Thanksgiving Eve there will be Divine Service at 7:30 P.M. I remember how when I was a boy the churches would be filled on Thanksgiving – and that was as it should be. But that has long ceased to be true. There are no doubt all kinds of reasons for this. But do we not need to consider our priorities? Is it too much to ask that we spend one hour in the House of God to join together in giving thanks for His blessings to us all?
The last Sunday in November is the Last Sunday of the present Church Year. The following Sunday, Advent Sunday, will be the beginning of the new Church Year. As one Church Year is ending and another about to begin we surely need to examine our lives in the light of the Word of God. In doing so we will surely come to see our many sins in thought and word and deed and our utter dependence on the mercy of God in His Son Jesus Christ our Savior. Let us then be diligent in the use of God’s Word and Sacraments in which He freely bestows forgiveness of our sins, life, and salvation. Ask yourself: If this were my last day on earth, how would I wish to live?
I ask your prayers for me; you are in mine.
Works of Mercy
When I went to tally the results of the Free Flea markets this year, I was pleasantly surprised. 144 people attended and 1,165 items were distributed. And 12 volunteers assisted 32 times at these occasions. But even more impressive are the numbers for the 6 years we have been doing this outreach to the community. We touched the lives of 979 people and distributed 6,698 items. Wow!!!! That’s a lot of people and items that we gave from the bounty the Lord has given us! It couldn’t have been done without the helpful hands of the volunteers, who came out 264 times to assist. Quite impressive for a small congregation!
And that change that’s in your pocket? It all adds up. Bert Buchanan’s husband emptied his pockets every night in a jar for years. She recently shared these coins to be used to purchase items for the Helping Up Mission. The total came to $56.43. So every penny counts and is used to help others.