[Jesus said] "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you." [Luke 6:27-31]
I once had a friend who used to carry a roll of quarters in her purse. She would give one to every panhandler on the street who approached her until the quarters ran out. I asked her why she did this, and she replied, "You can never tell when you may be helping one of God's angels."
I think of her every time I come across the above reading from Luke. We haven't kept in touch, but I imagine that these days, taking inflation into consideration, she must walk around with a wad of bills instead of coins.
Of course, "give to everyone who begs from you," is only one of the several commands of Jesus found in the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday, November 6. Jesus also encourages us to be loving, not just loving toward people we like, but loving toward people we don't like, even people who have hurt us.
These commands are impossible for us. However, they hopefully make us aware of how far we fall short of God's glory and how much we are in need of God's grace. We would do well to keep the words of Jesus in mind, especially as this interminable political campaign draws to a merciful end.
All over Northeastern Ohio and elsewhere churches will celebrate All Saints Sunday on November 6. We at the Northeastern Ohio Synod Office, 1890 Bailey Road in Cuyahoga Falls, will have our commemoration Eucharist on the actual day, which is tomorrow, Tuesday. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, we invite you to stop by at 11:30 a.m. and join us.
It is a custom at most congregations to commemorate those who have died in the past year. We will remember those rostered ministers who faithfully served in our synod and entered the church triumphant over the past year. I'm sure they will be remembered in some parish where they had a connection, but not collectively, as a group of servant leaders, by the judicatory in which they carried out their ministry, which is us. They are as follows:
The Rev. Robert F. Hall 12/17/2015
The Rev. Paul Harms 08/15/2016
The Rev. Terry E. Ruther 03/12/2016
The Rev. Renato Siewert 07/14/2016
The Rev. John F. Uhle 11/18/2015
Today (October 31) is the actual date of the Reformation. You may wonder why Martin Luther chose this day to nail the 95 theses to the wall of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Well, October 31 is the day before All Saints Day, November 1. Luther knew that many people would be flocking to Mass on that day so his proposal to debate the matter of indulgences would get a high volume of readership from those attending. And did it ever!
Rejoice in God's saints, today and always!
+Bishop Abraham Allende