Our November 7 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The November 14 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
ALL SAINTS DAY
Isaiah 25:6-9 | Psalm 24
Revelation 21:1-6a | John 11:32-44h
All Saints Day. Actually, today, Nov. 7th, is not All Saints Day. Nov. 1st, is All Saints Day. Today, the first Sunday in November is when Lutherans celebrate All Saints Day.
We celebrate, and look forward to the full coming All Saints’ Day, which will come when Christ returns. That is truly when all of the Church; past, present and yet to come will be joined together as the “Bride of Christ,” at the Marriage Feast or Heavenly Banquet at the end of the age. But, today we have a smaller celebration. We each can personally think of those saints who have influenced our lives and our faith development, and have now gone on before us. We did not get where we are in our lives, nor in our faith, alone. We had help. We had guidance. We were guided by “so great a cloud of witnesses.”
We live in a nation that has a tradition of “rugged individualism.” We have a myth of the “Self-made Man.” It isn’t true. No one gets through life alone. We are communal animals. We need each other to survive, and especially to develop and hopefully get ahead. This is especially true in the Christian faith. After His baptism, how does Jesus start his ministry? He begins calling his disciples. Then, he starts gathering his followers, the beginning of his Church. What is the Great Commision of that Church? “To make disciples of all nations.” The Church is a great extended community, ever expanding. And it has been for 2,000 years. We are the product of someone making us disciples, telling us the Gospel story. No one is born with faith. Rather, we are born with Original Sin. Some other disciple, be it a parent, grandparent, relative or friend proclaims the Gospel to us. In baptism, the guilt of that Original Sin is forgiven, and the seeds of faith are watered and nourished through our lives. There are others through our lives who have influenced and nurtured our faith and brings us to where we are. Today, we remember and commemorate these who, working through the Holy Spirit, have influenced our lives and faith. Some, we may have known, and continue to know, in our earthly life. Some, we may only know by their legacy.
Let us think of those who have influenced us in our faith. There may be parents, grandparents, family friends, pastors, Sunday School teachers, even complete strangers. All who have stepped into our lives and helped with our faith development. This is a Lutheran Church. So, we talk about Martin Luther, of course. But, he did not do it alone either. There were a whole host of reformers. There is the legacy of the saints. Being Lutherans, we have tried to ignore them for 500 years. But, they are still there. And they influence us regularly. There is St. Augustine, who deeply influences the theology of the entire Church. There is St. John Chrysostom, who has already influenced you today. He wrote the basic liturgy for the worship service, 1,700 years ago. Today alone, if you look on the Lutheran Calendar, we commemorate three missionaries: John Christian Frederick Heyer, the first missionary sent by American Lutherans. He went to India. He died in 1873; Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, a missionary to the Tamil people of India. He was actually imprisoned for converting people. He died in 1719. And Ludwig Nommensen who was a missionary to Sumatra, who died in 1918. Have you ever heard of them? Neither had I, until I wrote this sermon. But, the legacy of each is still alive and well, each as they served Christ in their own way and place. This Thursday is the Commemoration of St. Marting of Tours. Many have heard of him, and particularly his work among the poor and his work to keep the Gospel in its purity. And also on Thursday we commemorate Soren Aabye Kierkegaard. He has been a big influence on me. He was a Danish Lutheran theologian and philosopher. He is one of the fathers of existential philosophy. More importantly, his criticisms of the Church in the mid-1800s kicked off what is called the Kierkegaardian Reformation in the 1850s. He died in 1855. And, if you are Lutheran, you have been influenced by him. This is just a small part of that great cloud of witnesses that surround us.
Then, there is us. Oh yes, you are part of this cloud of witnesses. And there can be no telling who you have influenced or will influence in your faith. As you walk the walk and talk the talk of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you may never know who you will influence. Sunday night, as I was passing out candy to ninjas and zombies, a young woman came by with her baby in a stroller. And, she said to the baby, after taking candy, “This is who is going to baptize you.” Thinking about it, that is a future influence, which I hadn’t considered. The baptism hasn’t even been arranged yet, except in her and God’s mind. How will you declare your faith, and mentor someone else? By living your faith, and in exemplifying the Gospel. We are all disciples of Christ. We too are saints of Christ. We celebrate that we are joined to Christ as well. And, we look forward to those who will join us in the future as fellow saints of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom of God.
Today, we celebrate the whole Christian Church of every time and place. That as Christ was raised victorious over sin, death and the tomb, and raised Lazarus, so too at the end of this age, he will raise all of the Saints, and you and I also. For, where is the resurrection? Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the life. Where He is, we, and all of the saints, shall be also. For all the saints, and the witness they bear to you, we give you praise and honor O Lord. Amen.