I keep trying to put some words of wisdom on paper, but my thoughts are all jumbled. Coming back to NYC from a lovely cruise to Bermuda, my wife and I (along with millions in the tri-state area and beyond) had our lives turned upside down with SuperStorm Sandy. We’re more fortunate than most of our neighbors as we never lost electricity. Even now as I’m writing I hear Mayor Blumberg providing another update on recovery/repair operations: Alleluia! It seems as subways are returning on a limited basis. Nature’s power has jumbled our life and it will take a long time (much like with the 2008-9 Great Recession) to put the pieces back together. Nevertheless, as we sang on Reformation Sunday, we have the eternal Word:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Then the coming election adds to my jumbled thoughts. Although we’re spared endless ads in this “non-battle ground” city we know this is an important election. There is a cultural tension between communal support and individual initiative. Sadly it seems our choice this time is between the two when it should be a celebration of both. Our lives need creative, energetic individuals providing solutions to our problems and goals for our nation. And we need to work together to implement them. We must have both private and public sectors.
On November 1 we remember the saints of the church. All Saints Day celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who make up the body of Christ. Many saints are individuals whose lives are an example for being God’s Hands doing God’s Work. And many saints gathered others into communities to have an immense impact for good and holy life in God’s creation. We memorialize both private and public saints
As we are pulled forward by our God into the work set for us may we celebrate the gifts each of us have been given and exercise them for the well-being of God’s creation. Some of us are gifted to lead, motivate or guide others in our communal journey. Some of us are gifted with skills that sustain our community in worship and service: we sing, we bake bread for our Lord’s Meal, we tend the garden that brings delight to our neighbors, we visit the sick. Growing as a disciple of our Lord – being pulled forward by God – means we give away our gifts so others experience the joy of receiving.
In November our Lord’s disciples gathered around his Word and Meal at Our Saviour’s Atonement are invited to fill out and return to church a Commitment Card indicating their support of his ministry through OSA in the year ahead. During this time of pastoral transition your financial support is vitally important. Please consider growing your giving by one percent of your income. Gathering each disciple’s gifts into communal ministry will enable OSA to provide a strong foundation for new ministry with your next pastor.
Sovereign of the universe, your first covenant of mercy was with every living creature. When your beloved Son came among us, the waters of the river welcomed him, the heavens opened to greet his arrival, the animals of the wilderness drew near as his companions. With all the world's people, may we who are washed into new life through baptism seek the way of your new creation, the way of justice and care, mercy and peace, being your hands doing your work; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (ELW)
In the Name of our Lord
Pr. Bill Eggers, Coverage Pastor