We are in an in-between time. The leaves on our Scarlet Maple have yet to fall and we’ve already seen the first snow of the season. We are approaching the final stage of our Annual Stewardship Campaign, Because of You Our Church Changes Lives and preparing for Advent and Christmas celebrations. It’s easy in these times to be so busy with what’s been and what yet will be that we fail to be in the present moment.
As we transition from October to November, I want to highlight two days for you. They are Reformation Day and All Saints Day. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk nailed his 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenburg, Germany which sparked what we now call the Protestant Reformation. Luther knew that many would be coming to the church to celebrate All Saints and so left his Theses for worshipers to read. His intent was to improve the church as it was, hence, re-formation.
At the heart of Luther’s message was Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” He saw salvation as a free gift of God, there is nothing we can do to earn it. We access the benefits of that salvation, in the here and now, through faith. After all, when we die, we won’t need faith anymore because we’ll know.
Luther took a risk when he nailed his commitment to that church door, sharing his message as generously as he could, and the world has been changed as a result.
On the All Saints Day, we acknowledge all those who have gone before us, on who’s shoulders we stand. Ordinary people, like you and me, who lived their faith in their time. Ordinary people who made their own commitments and took their own risks to generously extend the faith from one generation to the next.
Before you fill out your pledge card, take time to give thanks for all who have gone before us to lay a firm
foundation in faith for us. Then, look around and see all the church is doing today, because of you.
Because of you our church changes lives. Whether through Sunday school, Bible Study, VBS, or book studies, Children, teens, and adults are learning and growing in the faith of Jesus. We can gather each week to offer our praise and thanks to God in word, song, and silence. In our beautiful, mortgage free sanctuary, babies are baptized, youth are confirmed, couples are married, new members are welcomed, and the dead are commended to God.
Because of you members in need receive emergency help from your contributions to the Giving Tree, the sick and homebound are visited. Because of you people are fed, whether through your donations to the Waukesha Food Pantry, the meals you serve at the Hope Center, or the elderly who benefit from the boxes you fill at the Hunger Task Force. Because of you those without a home can find shelter through your work at through Family Promise, Richard’s Place, and that bell you ring for the Salvation Army.
Because of you our youth learn and grow along with their special need’s partners at Baking Buddies. Addicts are finding a path to recovery through our partnership with WisHope. Because of you women who had to leave their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs, receive quilts to call their own as the Women’s Shelter sets them up in their new home. Because of you children start the school year well supplied with backpacks and the items you gather to fill them. Because of you the naked are clothed with the socks and underwear, hats, mittens, scarves and gloves that you share.
As you take time to look back and give thanks for all that’s been. I pray you too will take a risk, express your generous commitment, that the work of God in this place might continue to grow.
In all these ways, and more, because of you our church changes lives.