Since the leaves this year seem to be late in changing, November may be more colorful than in some years. However, colorful or not, November has important days in the Church Year.
November 1st is All Saints Day, a time to remember and praise God for all those who have died in the Lord and now rest from their labors. We remember also our sainthood bought by Jesus’ dying on the cross for our sins. Now as both saints and redeemed sinners we are strengthened to serve Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although not a religious holiday, November 11, encourages us to give thanks for all those who have served our country in the military over the years and presently. They have helped to preserve our freedoms, especially our freedom to worship our Triune God.
Thanksgiving is, of course, a national holiday but we in the Church take the opportunity to offer a Service of Thanksgiving to our Lord for all He has given us in our lives . We especially give thanks for
God’s gift of Grace in Christ Jesus, our Savior. It’s sad that so few feel the need to attend this special opportunity. (The service this year is Wednesday, Nov. 24th at 7:P.M.).
The First Sunday of Advent is November 28th with special orders of worship for the four weeks
pre-ceding Christmas. During this time as we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth we also direct our thinking to His Second Coming and His coming into our hearts to assure us t of the peace that passes all understanding in this world of sin.
We hear this year that people should shop early for Christmas due to a shortage of material items for Christmas. Yet as Christians we recognize that the greatest Gift we could ever have is the Christ Child,
our Savior, whose birth we celebrate and through Him we have the promise of eternal life.
I pray we will all look forward to and attend our Sunday morning Advent Services and maybe even our Wednesday evening Advent Bible Classes at 7P.M. (light meal at 6:15P.M.). Take time as you share plans for the upcoming season to share your faith with others through Word and action. Invite others to worship with you as you attend these special services. Show your faith and share it by the Holy Spirit’s power.
GRACE ALONE, FAITH ALONE, SCRIPTURE ALONE
It would be hard for a Lutheran pastor not to include thoughts of Martin Luther when writing an article for October. As you might remember, it was on October 31 – the Eve of All Saints’ Day – that Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg so the scholars might begin debating issues that were in conflict with Scripture, thus starting the REFORMATION.
Luther continued to find evidence in Holy Scripture that the Church in his day was not consistent with Scripture. Finally at the Diet (Meeting) at Worms some years later, Luther was challenged to recant (take back) his writings. Paraphrasing his response Luther said that unless he could be proven wrong- by Scripture, he would not recant.
Since that time a basic premise of our church has been that we are saved by “Grace alone, by Faith alone and by Scripture alone.” Unfortunately, many Lutherans today do not take the time to really study Scripture. This is evident even at Faith Lutheran Church where Bible class attendance is certainly low (in spite of the addition of donuts and coffee every Sunday morning). It would be interesting to know why people do not want to study God’s Word more. We always give opportunities to pick what book of the Bible or topic members would like to discuss or find answers for. We read what God says in His Word, talk about what it means and apply it to present day problems or concerns. Whatever is studied from His Word, God has promised to build our faith through it as the Holy Spirit works through the Word. It changes our hearts and helps to remind us that we can learn from other times, people and circumstances. The Bible is God’s “love letter” to each one of us.
At this time we are studying Micah – one of the shorter books of the Bible which contains the prophecy of where Jesus would be born about 700 years before it happened. Its theme of judgment and deliverance by God are topics relevant today! You are personally invited to come to our adult Bible class here at Faith on Sundays at 9:15 a.m. Bring your favorite Bible or use one provided on the table downstairs where Bible class is held.
Rev. James W. Rhiver, Pastor