“Commit your way to the LORD; put your trust in the LORD.” Psalm 37:5
Dear Redeemer Family:
The summer seems to have ended, although it is in the high 80s as I write this. And we are entering into autumn. Autumn is my favorite earthly season here. Soon the beauty of the trees will break out in glorious colors, filling the hills around us. But, as the trees leaves turn to brilliant colors, they are also dying, preparing of the cold death of winter. But, they are also preparing for resurrection in the spring. It is an interesting cycle of life which we behold in God’s creation around us, and with God’s creatures. So, on that theme, let us look at others of God’s creatures, who served God well, and also are awaiting their resurrection.
On October 15th, we commemorate St. Teresa of Avila; Teacher and Renewer of the Church, who died on that date in 1582. She is also known as Teresa de Jesus. She chose the life of a Carmelite nun after reading the letters of St. Jerome (his commemoration is September 30, and died in 420. He is famous for his translation of the Bible into Latin, known as the Vulgate). She was frequently sick during her early years as a nun. But she found that when she was sick her prayer life flowered, and when she was well it withered. Steadily her life of faith and prayer deepened, and she grew to have a lively sense of God’s presence with her. She worked to reform her monastic community in Avila, which she believed had strayed from its original purpose. Her reforms asked nuns to maintain life in the monastic enclosure without leaving it and to identify with those who are poor by not wearing shoes. Teresa’s writings on devotional life have enjoyed a wide audience over the centuries (including me).
October 17th is the commemoration of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, martyr, who died then in 115 AD. He was the second bishop of Antioch in Syria. It was there that the name “Christian” was first used to describe the followers of Jesus. Ignatius is known to us through his letters. In them he encouraged Christians to live in unity sustained with love while standing firm on sound doctrine. Ignatius believed Christian martyrdom was a privilege. When his own martyrdom approached, he wrote in one of his letters, “I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth…Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life.” This date reminds us that there are still places where Christians continue to face death because of their beliefs in Christ.
October 18th is the Festival of St. Luke whose Gospel we have been hearing from this year. He is identified as the author of both Luke and the Book of Acts. Luke is careful to place the vents of Jesus’ life in both their social and religious contexts. Some of the most loved parables, including the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son are found only in Luke’s Gospel. It has also given the Church some of its most beautiful songs; the “Benedictus” sung at morning prayers, the “Magnificat” sung at evening prayer, and the “Nunc Dimittis” sung at the close of the day and the Sunday service.
We can do well in the autumn to learn from these witnesses who have gone before us, and render them the honor due their actions for the message of Our LORD.
In Christ, Pastor Rose.