The Reverend Doctor Nathan Corl Minnich, STS
Ordained Lutheran Pastor of the North American Lutheran Church
Grace and Peace be unto you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Can you believe it? The end is so near! Given that so many of you have heard the little apocalypse narratives this time of the year places in our lectionary, you may be thinking that I’m actually proclaiming the end…THE END! Or, perhaps there are those of you who immediately thought I was writing about the end of 2019, as we quickly see November come (and go) it would be appropriate to think such. Even more astutely, some of you may have remembered the very intense focus of the Advent Season which is nearly upon us, once again calling to mind the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ (in power and glory…not as a child of Bethlehem).
Yes, in some ways all three are correct! We are indeed in that time, the last days, when waiting for Christ Jesus to come again places us in the same mindset as those who eagerly awaited his coming again, even as they stood watching him ascend. Being in these last days, our hope is in his promise of return to complete what was begun at the resurrection, the ushering in of the new creation, the sanctification of all creation through his merit alone! We are also in that time of the year when we look to changing the calendar, hoping, wishing, and resolving for 2020 to be better than 2019. Yes, the end of this calendar year is also upon us.
However, it is most important for our liturgical community of faithful believers here at Salem to celebrate the beginning of a new liturgical year with Advent, while at the same time preach, speak, and teach about our true hope in the end…and in that END, the real beginning. Start anew, no matter what you have had weigh upon you in the past year, years, or even decades. Make the decision to put an exercise on you agenda each day! This may just be the easiest exercise program out there…EXERCISE YOUR FAITH! How, you ask? Pray daily, even if for just a minute. Read scripture, commentary, prayer books, etc. daily, and learn so much more than you could imagine about your faith. Be present at the liturgical worship of your faith community. The best evangelism, I think, is simply getting up, getting ready, and getting SEEN going to church. In this place you will stand with others whose hope is like yours. If we really believe the end is coming, why not jump into your new beginning now, before the year is over, before the liturgical year is over, before it is all over! There are a few important things this season to note here so that you can be involved. We’re forming a 5/10 year planning committee. If you are interested please let me know. This committee will form recommendations for our future. So, if you plan on Salem being here in 5 years, and 10 years…then your insights are what we need.
Our ChristMass celebration this year is going to be wonderful! Make sure your family plans are formed around this most Holy Occasion, marking the true reason we celebrate…the birth of Jesus Christ! Our 7:30 PM ChristMass will include the annual music, readings, and beauty of the season and if an excellent opportunity to pause the busy…and reverently know that Christ Jesus took on flesh from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to give it up on the sacrificial cross for you! Come, stand before the altar of the Lord and receive the greatest gift of all, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, given and shed…for you!