Pastor’s Page November 2023
The first weekend of worship this November will challenge us to consider what the world might look like if we simply honored one another, really cared about caring for one another.
This might sound like a utopian ideal, but don’t dismiss it too quickly. The church is and should be a resource for spreading the gospel, and while good works don’t get us into heaven, they are a tangible expression of the gospel’s message.
It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong with people today. We are good at pointing fingers. But today’s readings should prompt us to look at how we participate, as Paul puts it, in a life worthy of God, who calls us into God’s kingdom and glory. God calls us into the kingdom through love and brings us to it through grace. How can your congregation give thanks for that amazing gift?
We will also be reminded this month how human beings are relational creatures. We are created to be in relationship with one another and with God. No one, no matter how independent or disconnected they may feel they are, functions completely outside the context of relationships.
From the moment we are born we are thrust into relationship with people around us—the people who delivered us, the people who will be taking care of us in a hospital nursery, our family, and God. When we enter this world, we immediately begin forming relationships.
Relationships, healthy relationships, require a great deal of work and care if they are to prosper and grow. In particular, relationships require trust to grow and become mature. Relationships rooted in trust can bring out the best in us. Relationships rooted in anything else can bring out the worst.
Throughout this month we will be considering our stewardship. Presented in light of God’s gift of faith and purpose, this “churchy” term can today be transformed to new understanding in the proclamation of the gospel. Stewardship, the generous giving of our time, talents and treasure to the mission of sharing Christ with our world, is automatic if we are awake to God’s transforming presence in our lives.
In a time in history when so many people are discouraged with work, home, life, and church, a word from Jesus’ parables may be healing, enriching, and startlingly attractive. The gospel text today is an opportunity to remind the people of God that there is a depth to faith that is sustainable. In fact, beneath the parables of Jesus is a depth it will take a lifetime to unpack.
November worship culminates in re-affirming Christ as King over our lives. On the final Sunday of the liturgical year, we hear a parable from Jesus challenging and inspiring our imaginations to grasp our whole vocation that is celebrated in baptism: to embody Christ in every moment and to engage every part of our world as Christ’s redeemed creation.
Jesus invites us this month to wonder what’s at the deepest foundation of our presence and purpose—that we might come away faithfully bewildered at the awesome possibilities of God’s kingdom being practiced on earth as it is in heaven.
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