Post date: Oct 29, 2013 4:52:46 PM
All Saints Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christ the King Sunday
As I write this in mid-October, the leaves on the trees and bushes are turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Some leaves have already dropped and we have had some cold nights and frosty mornings which put an end to most flowers and gardens. It’s a beautiful warm, sunshiny day today, but November is coming. And November means colder temps, more rain or snow, the dying of the landscape and (hardest for me) less daylight hours. November is a month of change.
November is also the last month in this church year: the year of the Gospel of Luke. A new church year, the year of Matthew, begins on Dec 1 with the First Sunday in Advent. In November we celebrate All Saints Sunday-- Nov 3rd, Christ the King Sunday—Nov 24th, and Thanksgiving Day—Nov 28th.
On Nov 3rd, the church celebrates All Saints Sunday. We remember with thanksgiving those who have died in the faith and now live forever in the full kingdom of God. The reformer Martin Luther would also remind us that all Christians are at the same time saints and sinners. We are all sinners, entirely dependent upon the saving grace of Jesus Christ and not on our own merits. At the same time we are saints who seek to live lives of faith and commitment on earth. We give thanks for the saints, the mentors in our lives who have inspired us in the Christian faith. And we ourselves strive to be friends and mentors in the faith for others.
Christ the King Sunday is always the last Sunday in the church year and falls on Nov 24th this year. We celebrate Jesus as the Savior King and the goal of all human history. The gospel reading for Christ the King Sunday is strangely and appropriately the crucifixion of Jesus from Luke 23. Jesus is our King and Savior because he goes to the cross to forgive the sins of the whole world. The thief on the cross beside him says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus says, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
We have our National Day of Thanksgiving on November 28th this year. It is good and right that we as a nation pause to give thanks on this day. I know we live in a religiously plural nation now. But my pet peeve is that many folks have forgotten who to thank. Sure, people will say, “I’m thankful for my family” or “I’m thankful for food, clothing and shelter” or “I’m thankful that I live in a free country.” These are all wonderful blessings. But let us not fail to mention who we give thanks to: to God, of course! To God the source of all goodness. To God from whom all blessings flow. To God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life, love and all that exists. Living with the “gratitude attitude” is a big part of the Christian life.
November is often a stewardship emphasis month in the church. We are asked to consider how we will give of our time, our talents and yes, our treasure, our money, to further the work of God’s kingdom in our church, our community and our world. We can do so unafraid, secure in the faith that God has already given us the forgiveness of our sins, life and salvation all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus our Savior.
Serving Jesus together with you,