From the Pastor: November 2011

Dear Saints of God in Christ Jesus,

In the Church Year calendar, the month of November begins and ends with special days.  November 1 is All Saints’ Day.  November 30 is the day of St. Andrew, Apostle.  All Saints’ Day is the last minor festival in the Church Year.  St. Andrew’s Day is the first minor festival of the new Church Year.  I don’t think it is by accident that throughout the Church Year we commemorate specific, individual people of God whom He has raised up as part of the “great cloud of witnesses” in His Church and then conclude the Church Year with All Saints’ Day to remember everyone who, by faith alone in Jesus Christ, now lives, or has died and lives now in heaven awaiting the resurrection of the body on the Last Day.

The Collect of the Day for All Saints’ Day illustrates this culmination of the minor festivals throughout the Church Year.

Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

This collect also describes why we take time to remember some of God’s specific saints throughout the Church Year.  They can serve as a helpful model for us, an example of living the Christian life that we can follow.  It certainly helps me to go through life as a disciple of Jesus knowing that St. Paul had a “thorn in his flesh” that God chose not to remove.  When I have problems that the Lord doesn’t seem to relieve me of, I can look to Paul and to his faith and find encouragement in God’s promise to him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

So what can we learn from St. Andrew, the first of God’s people highlighted in the Church Year?  We read in John 1:35-42a, “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’  He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus.”

Andrew was one of the first to come to know Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Christ.  And Andrew didn’t keep that find to himself.  He told his brother, Simon Peter, about Jesus.  What’s more, Andrew just didn’t tell Peter, he also brought Peter to Jesus.  That’s an example we can surely follow too.  We can tell people about our Savior Jesus.  And we can bring them to the place where we meet Jesus in His Word and Sacraments—at the altar, at the font, at the pulpit.  So we pray in the Collect for St. Andrew, Apostle:

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple.  Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 Pastor Coons

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