Peace Lutheran Church
The Church Year is drawing to a close this month: the Last Sunday of the Church Year is November 20th, and the New Year starts with the First Sunday in Advent on November 27th. Unlike what we see in December, there are will not be any specials on television recapping the previous year; and hardly anyone is planning a big end of the Church Year party. No, for most the Church Year will close without much notice.
Allow me to make notice in this letter.
As you look back on the Church Year, you could say that we have seen and done a lot.
We began the year with Advent and made our way with Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem; and then we found ourselves at the Jordan River for the Baptism of Jesus. We spent some time in the season of Epiphany discovering just who Jesus really is and what He is about in His miracles and manifestations. And then just as we were starting to like having Jesus around, we found ourselves in Lent and making our way to the cross. We celebrated on Palm Sunday, feasted on Maundy Thursday, mourned on Good Friday and contemplated on Holy Saturday. And then we let our Alleluia’s rise on Easter Sunday celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord.
Oh, how we treasured those Sunday’s of Easter and having Jesus with us once more; but pretty soon we saw Jesus ascend into heaven; and then witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Since then we have been engaged in the life of the Church, and what we as a Church are to be doing as we anticipate the return of Christ.
That is the well-worn cycle of the Church; and looking back, you might say nothing out of the ordinary happened, but that something extraordinary happened as well.
The Church Year had its highs and lows; it had its peaks and valleys, but most of all it had Jesus at the center. Throughout the course of the Church Year, we gathered together and received the forgiveness of sins, were reminded of our baptism and received the true body and blood of Jesus. And that was pretty extraordinary.
Throughout the course of the Church Year we gathered together and boldly confessed the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, knowing full well that doing so in some countries could possibly result in our deaths. And that was pretty extraordinary.
Throughout the course of the Church Year, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer, along with a whole host of other prayers in the Prayers of the Church, knowing full well, that God, our Father in heaven, heard every one of them. And that was pretty extraordinary.
Throughout the course of the Church Year, we saw children baptized; people young and old confess their faith; and we even saw some receive the promise of eternal life as they entered into the waiting embrace of Jesus. And that was pretty extraordinary.
Throughout the course of the Church Year, we gathered to pray, to study, to serve, to have fellowship. We read newsletters on strengthening one’s devotional life. We served the community by being a witness to the sanctity of life. We went to the lake to share the Gospel with others. We sent quilts to those in need. And that was pretty extraordinary.
Looking back on the Church Year as it draws to a close, one might say that is was pretty extraordinary. But it was also rather ordinary, and the reason why there will not be many parties to celebrate the close of the Church Year, is quite simply because we will do it all again next year to. The life of the Church is at the same time both ordinary and extraordinary. What we do may seem rather dull to some on the outside; but what makes it special, is that no matter how many times we do something, we still find Jesus at the heart of it.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt