Week of the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Dear Friends in Christ:
Even amidst the pandemic’s ongoing, persistent disruptions of our routines at home, at work, at school, and at church, we also persist in leaning into a greater sense of normalcy in our congregational life together. Today, I want to invite your reflections with me on some upcoming momentous occasions in our congregation of significance for particular members and families in our congregation.
Funeral for Martha Simpson
The funeral for long-time member, Martha Simpson, will take place at Resurrection Church this coming Saturday, October 23 beginning at 2:00 pm. A reception will follow in our fellowship hall. Martha’s family kindly invites Resurrection members who knew Martha and their family to be present to support them in this time of grief, but also thankful remembrance of life in the light of the gospel. A former pastor at Resurrection, David Schafer, will offer the sermon and otherwise assist at the funeral liturgy. It would be great if our members returned in number to see and greet one of our former pastors, along with Martha’s family to support them at this time. Funerals are occasions not just for family members of the deceased, but for our whole congregation as we remember a life, but also celebrate the good news of Christ’s ultimate victory over death and the grave. Please consider yourself strongly encouraged to attend the funeral this Saturday.
On the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, this coming Sunday, October 24, Ethan Kramer will receive Holy Communion for the first. He will be joined at the communion rail by his mother, Abigail, and his grandfather. Again, this occasion is not just special for Ethan and his family, but for our whole congregation. A First Communion invites us all to consider the wonder and mystery and grace given when Christ’s very self is made known to us in the breaking of bread. I invite you even now to remember your own First Communion. How old were you? What do you remember about that day? How has your experience of the Eucharist changed or stayed the same of the course of the years and decades? Bring these reflections with you to the table this Sunday as we celebrate with Ethan.
A week later after on October 31, two of our youth will affirm their baptism in the rite commonly known as Confirmation. This will take place on the day that we will observe as Reformation Sunday, giving thanks for our own particular Lutheran heritage, but also praying for the day when Christ’s church will be visibly more united for the sake of our reconciling witness to the world. Here again, affirmation of baptism is significant not just for those making their affirmation, and being confirmed. This is an occasion of significance for our whole congregation, for it takes the whole Christian community to raise up persons in faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Together, with those affirming their baptism, we will all communally confess our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. Together, we will promise to support those making affirmation and pray for them in their life of faith. Together, we will rejoice with those confirmed: “we rejoice with you in the life of baptism. Together we will give thanks and praise to God and proclaim the good news to all the world.” (Affirmation of Baptism rite in ELW pew edition, p. 236). Think about what you’re pledging to do with and for our confirmands in our communal life as a congregation.
And I invite to think about the day of your own confirmation, when you affirmed your baptism. I, too, was confirmed on a Reformation Sunday in 1976, the year of our nation’s bicentennial celebrations. It was a glorious fall day in my small, Midwestern hometown. The sun beamed brightly in the nave, and the stained-glass windows illuminated the red-colored altar and pulpit paraments in the brilliance and richness of their color. In that room multiple generations of my family were baptized and confirmed, married and buried. In my mind’s eye is see the link of continuity between my baptism, my confirmation, and my ordination to word and sacrament ministry which also took place in that space. You have your own confirmation stories to tell. Remember them. Tell them!
I also invite you to stay after church on October 31, when members of our Education Committee have a special occasion planned for our confirmands during coffee hour time to help them celebrate the day.
All Saints Sunday
Barbara Verdile, Our Regular Music Director!
Finally, it’s my privilege to announce officially that our Congregation Council voted at their October meeting on a search committee’s recommendation that Barbara Verdile be hired as our regular Director Music at Resurrection Church. Thanks be to God, and to Barbara who has accepted this invitation. While we have known Barbara and her musical gifts for two years now in her capacity as interim music director, the search committee did engage Barbara in shared discernment about the call we and she sensed for her to serve as our regular church musician. Indeed, we are thankful for this outcome, another expression of our persistence in claiming some normal routine amidst the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
With these vignettes, it should be clear that the usual momentous routines of our Christian life together proceed and insist even during an ongoing crisis season of challenge to those very routines that we hold dear. Thanks be to God for these normal, but profound occasions in our life together.
For Jesus’ sake,
Pastor Jonathan Linman