Friday, November 1, 2019
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Scriptures for Sunday, November 3, 2019
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4
Luke 19: 1–10
The Ancient One came;
then judgment was given
for the holy ones of the Most High,
and the time arrived
when the holy ones
gained possession of the kingdom. ...
... their kingdom
shall be an everlasting kingdom...
-Daniel 7: 22, 27
This Friday will be November 1, All Saints Day. Many of us Protestants observe All Saints Day, even though we don’t share all of the Catholic practices that go with declaring someone to be a “saint.” We understand that certain people in this world live lives that are set apart to glorify God. One doesn’t have to “judge” very deeply to notice when we’re in the presence of someone who is deeply committed to serving God, who is walking the way of Jesus.
In both the Old Testament and the New, we read of “holy ones” among humankind: that is the meaning of the word translated “saints.” The authors of the book of Daniel and of most New Testament books are not shy when it comes to calling some people “saints.” So, while I don’t rush to label folks as “saints” myself, it seems silly to refuse to admit it when I find myself in the presence of a “holy one.”
Besides that, wiser people than I have told me, get ready to be surprised at who we meet in heaven.
This coming Sunday in worship, we will take a little time to say the names of people who have gone on before us. I urge you to pray about this, and to thank God for the people God put in your life to show you examples of holy living.
Did you know that “Halloween” gets its name from All Saints Day ?
In earlier forms of our English language, All Saints Day was called All Hallows. “Hallows” as in “Hallowed be Thy name,” part of the Lord’s Prayer. The evening before All Hallows is thus All Hallow’s E’en, which got shortened to Halloween. Each year, October 31 and November 1 stand at the center of the season of Autumn, halfway between the Autumnal Equinox (when dark and light are of equal length) and the Winter
Solstice (the shortest day of the year). The other cross-quarter days are May Day, Midsummer Day, and Groundhog Day.
On Saturday, October 19, Nancy B and I attended the Fall Meeting of the Shenandoah Association, which was held at St. Michael’s UCC, south of Bridgewater. About a dozen of our churches were represented. We received reports from our Treasurer and from our Central Atlantic Conference, and we approved our Association budget for A.D. 2020. Our budget is small, mostly funded by the annual “dues” of member-churches including Bethel. Church dues are based on their number of members, so if Bethel claims 100 members, our contribution amounts to $700.
Our budget helps ministers-in-training, pays toward the salary of Angela Megna (the secretary in the Conference Office in Catonsville who looks after anything relating to our Shenandoah Association), and supports programs which show churches how to improve our practices and our understanding in order to thrive.
At this year’s Fall Meeting, we focused on Justice. This program was led by Associate Conference Ministers Rev. Audrey Price and Rev. Marvin Silver, plus Rev. Katie Low (Chaplain and Professor at Mary Baldwin) and Rev. Mary Norville (newly ordained and installed pastor of Grace UCC, west of Mt. Jackson). Rev. Silver is our Conference’s leader of the Justice and Witness Action Network, which educates and engages members in community organizing, grassroots advocacy, prophetic witness and action, and shaping public policy that advances our vision of securing a just and compassionate world for all.
In our discussions of justice, we were challenged to stand up for anyone we see being discriminated against or oppressed. This touches upon not only racial prejudice but also injustice toward anyone based on their national origin, poverty, gender, disability, body type, and more. In the coming months, I hope to share more practical information with our congregation about working for justice. Justice is the work of each and every one of God’s people.
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?