Greetings to my family in Christ! By the time you read this, we may
have already celebrated All Saints Sunday. I like the fact that it is ALL saints. It’s not only about remembering those who have died, though it is that. We celebrate the entire family of God, which includes those saints who are now living, in other words, US.
Many of us at St. Timothy have at least some of our family nearby. But
then there are those of us who live far from our nuclear family. This is when we especially appreciate the relationships that have been formed with our brothers and sisters in the faith. These too are our family, sometimes even more so than blood relations.
I write this on the heels of the attack on worshippers at the Tree of Life
Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We hold these people of faith in our hearts. When any are attacked in worship it affects us all as people of faith. We are grateful that in the midst of the horror, underneath, supporting the suffering are the “everlasting arms” of God. What can we do in the midst of the violence and fear that it spawns in our nation? It all boils down to the love of God. Can we be the embodied love of God to the suffering? Can we teach our children, grandchildren and ourselves model the tolerance and even beyond tolerance, the love for those who are different from ourselves? God help us to be the people that can help to provide healing for the hurting. There is a short poem written by Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller that powerfully speaks to the issue of hatred of others:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Many of us will be gathering with family this Thanksgiving, while some
of us are unable to due to distance. As we gather, what are we thankful for? Certainly we are grateful for health or strength to get through those times when our health is compromised. I am grateful for these things as well, but I am especially grateful for relationships of family (both physical relatives and the family of faith). I am very grateful for each of you.
I’d like to leave you with these words of the letter to the Ephesians:
I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power (Ephesians 1:16-19). May God’s peace and love be yours, Pastor Ivy