From the Pastor's desk

  

One of the great joys of my ministry is visiting the home-bound. Often, when visiting the home-bound I receive so much more than I am able to give. I hear stories shared by OWLs (Older Wiser Lutherans) of how things were when they came to church. I hear shared family stories and memories; we might even share a joke or two in our time together. I am so very blessed by all of these things.

Nevertheless, often times it is difficult to see failing minds and bodies. I am often reminded that our bodies are only temporary shells, not made by God to last forever. And to be honest sometimes after my visit I wonder if we are doing the best we can in care for our seniors.

When visiting there is more shared than just a few stories or a silly joke.  We read Scripture. We share prayer.  We share the bond and the love that we have as members of the one Body of Christ, and on most of my visits we share the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Placing bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ into aging hands, and repeating Jesus’ words “Given for you” often reminds me of faithful saints of the church I have visited in the past. Saints, like Trish, who very early in my ministry helped me claim my call as pastor. Saints like Franklin who, after living alone for years, would welcome me into his home as he slowly made his way with his walker to the kitchen table. There, surrounded by cherished family pictures, he shared stories of how proud he was of his son who served as policeman and how much he missed his wife. Saints like Tom who insisted on receiving Holy Communion at least twice a month and often followed Holy Communion with a tough theological question. All these are faithful saints of the church who now rest in Christ Jesus.

That said not all saints have passed away.

There are plenty of saints on this side of heaven.

In our Lutheran understanding saints are normal people.

People like you and me.

Saints are not superheroes.

Years ago I visited an old ELCA church in rural Wisconsin. The church yard was carved out of the dense Wisconsin woods. Many things impressed me about that old church. The church was well maintained. There was a beautiful piece of stained glass aglow with the three “solas”:  Sola gratia - grace alone, sola fide - faith alone, sola scriptura - scripture alone. Once inside, I commented on the beautiful carved wood communion rail. An older gentleman (a member of the congregation) went on to explain when they kneel at that half circle rail to receive Holy Communion they remember how they remain in Community (in Communion) with the saints who have gone before them — saints buried in the church cemetery on the other side of the church wall in back of the altar.

Sunday, November 5th is All Saints Sunday. Appropriate scripture will be read, special music will be played and sung, the Book of Saints will be placed near the altar (It’s not too late to place a name in the book of saints! Please stop by church this week or call the church office and we would be happy to write the name of a friend or loved one in the book).

Come to worship as together we remember and give thanks for the lives of all saints. Saints with us now and those who rest in Christ Jesus.

God’s peace, all of you saints!

Pastor Tom Hillertz