FROM PASTOR MIKE’S DESK:
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
So I know this is the October Newsletter and it may seem weird to bring up something which is happening in November, but I want to inform you about a change which is coming.
“Wait? What? Did Pastor just say the “c” word?”
Yes, I said the “c” word. But before you toss this to the side, let me explain what the change is going to be.
All Saints’ Day is November 1st and it is typically celebrated on the first Sunday in November.
“Okay, but what is it that we celebrate? What is all Saints’ Day?”
Well … let me explain.
In the early church, so back in the first century, feasts were celebrated to remember the different apostles. The most prominent feast was that of Peter and Paul, but eventually other days were added for apostles like John and James, to name a few. As time went on, other martyrs, those who died for their faith, were being remembered.
The church in the Early Middle Ages, developed what we know today as “All Saints’ Day”. The ancient observation was originally to commemorate or remember the martyrs of the church. However, it has been expanded to include all who die in the faith.
Here at Salem Lutheran, we have typically remembered those who have departed this life in faith on New Year’s Eve. We were unable to do that last year because we had to cancel the service because I was exposed to COVID. This year, because New Year’s Eve is on a Saturday and we will be having church on New Year’s Day, the Board of Elders and I have decided to cancel our New Year’s Eve service. So again, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to remember our faithful departed within this year.
So here’s the change. … Instead of remembering the faithful departed on New Year’s Eve, the Board of Elders and I have agreed to move our time of remembrance to All Saints’ Sunday, the first Sunday in November. We will take time during the service to remember those who have departed in faith over these last two years.
“So why do we do this?”
Well, in our Lutheran Confessions, we say that we remember the saints so we may give thanks to God for them and their witness, so we might be strengthened by their example, and so we might be moved to follow them as they followed Christ. This is not about hero worship, but it is about recognizing the faithful who went before us, who trusted in Christ, and who were received into His mercy. It is about being encouraged as we fight the good fight here and now. It is also about looking to the great reunion when finally all the faithful will be together forever in God’s eternal kingdom.
Hebrews 12 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” On All Saints’ Day, we remember this great cloud of witnesses while keeping our eyes forever on Jesus and the prize which waits all of us, eternal life with God.
Within the pages of this newsletter, you will find an announcement regarding our remembering of the faithful departed. If you have someone you want us to remember, please let us know. If you have any questions about any of this, please let me know as I am happy to talk with you about this.
As we each recall loved ones, friends, and/or mentors who are now living in heaven, I pray that their faith in Christ inspires us and gives us joy. May you be comforted by Jesus’ victory over death by His resurrection and may God give you His peace which surpasses all human understanding.