“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1
Dear Redeemer Family:
As we enter into autumn, finally, let us remember some of the significant persons of the Christian faith whom we also remember during this month. They are important in many ways to our understanding as they sought to follow in faith where Jesus had led the way.
First, one of my favorites, St. Francis of Assisi, who died on October 4th, 1226. Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. In a public confrontation with his father, re renounced his wealth and future inheritance and devoted himself to serving the poor. Francis described this act as being “wedded to Lady Poverty.” Under his leadership the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) was formed, and they took literally Jesus’ words to his disciples that they should take nothing on their journey and receive no payment for their work. Their task in preaching was to “us words if necessary.” Francis had a spirit of gladness and gratitude for all of God’s creation. This commemoration has been a traditional time to bless pets and animals, creatures Francis called his brothers and sisters. A prayer and hymn attributed to St. Francis are included in the hymnal (p.87, and hymn #835).
On October 6th, William Tyndale is remembered: translator and martyr, who died on that date in 1536. He was ordained in 1521, and his life’s desire was to translate the scriptures into English. Just as in the same timeframe Luther was endeavoring to translate them into German. When his plan me opposition from Henry VIII, Tyndale fled to Germany, where he traveled from city to city, living in poverty and constant danger. He was able to produce a New Testament in 1525. Nine years later her revised it and began work on the Old Testament, which he was unable to complete. He was tried for heresy and burned at the stake (something that Martin Luther was also in danger of). Miles Coverdale completed Tyndales’s work, and the Tyndale-Coverdale version was published as the “Matthew Bible” in 1537. For nearly four centuries the style of this translation has influenced the English versions of the Bible such as the King James (Authorized Version) and the New Revised Standard Version (which we use in the worship service).
Here are but two of our examples in the faith. There are many more whom we remember in the month of October. But, these two alone give us wonderful examples of the care for the poor, and the importance of sharing God’s Word with others. Let us remember their examples.