Dear Siblings in Christ,

God’s peace be with you this October.  It’s Reformation month!  The Wednesday evening Bible study group is reading Martin Luther’s The Freedom of a Christian.  It’s the 500th anniversary of the publication of this treatise – three years after the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Cathedral Church in Wittenberg.  One of Luther’s favorite psalms was the 46th.  We’ll say it again on Reformation Sunday, 25 October this year.

We’re into the seventh month of the pandemic, and I imagine it’s wearing on all of us.  The scientists and public health officials told us that there would likely be 200,000 deaths by October, and sadly, they were right.  On 21 September, as I write this, there were 203,045 deaths in the United States, the most in the world.  If ever there has been a time during our lives when we need the comfort of the Psalms, this is surely it.  I invite you to read through the Psalms.  Take your time, try one per day, jump around and see what strikes you on any given day.  Perhaps this month you want to start with Psalm 46: 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Remember all the ways God has blessed you.  Remember that St. Paul’s has been blessed and has been called to love and serve our neighbors.  Luther, in The Freedom of a Christian, said:

   A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.

   A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

It sounds contradictory!  How does that work?  God in Christ has freed us from sin and death.  We do not earn our salvation by what we do.  Having been freed, we are called to serve our neighbors.  The really short version is: God’s Work, Our Hands.  We love and serve our neighbors as our thankful response to God’s unending love for us.  Remember that every day when you awake.  God loves you beyond words.  Live that love every day – you’ll feel better.

God’s peace be with you.

Pastor Elaine +

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