MONDAY MUSINGS - TUESDAY EDITION
October 8, 2019
Now thank we all our God
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who, from our mothers' arms,
has blest us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
[Evangelical Lutheran Worship #840]
The assigned lectionary readings for October 13, 2019, the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, are as follows:
My travel scheduled made it impossible to finish my writing in time to post yesterday morning, and for that I apologize.
I am currently in Columbus, Ohio, at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University for my annual seminary visit.
I enjoy these opportunities to speak to seminarians, especially those who are in their second year of internship and are preparing for the assignment process. They are filled with excitement and eager to begin their vocation in ordained ministry, and at the same time anxious, not knowing where their ministry will take them. My role, along with the other bishops that visit, is to ease their fears and calm their anxieties, and assure them that our chief concern for them is that their ministry flourish.
It wasn't long ago that Trinity was floundering in serious uncertainty. But by the power and grace of God, it now boasts 23 first-year students, and the future for Trinity is filled with hope and promise. And for that we say, "Thanks be to God."
Yesterday, the first Monday in October, was the third anniversary of Monday Musings. So we're celebrating a day late.
I want to express, first and foremost, my gratitude to all of you who read this weekly column. I am always humbled when someone approaches me and tells me how much they enjoy receiving it in their inbox every Monday. That's one reason I frequently find myself breaking my neck to complete it in timely fashion, and am sorely disappointed when that doesn't happen.
I have enjoyed the email exchanges with several of you who, on occasion, find something worth debating or discussing and will write to do that.
I am overjoyed when one of you "borrows" from these weekly offerings to include it in a sermon or another written document. You are welcome to borrow anytime. I love to share.
Three years also marks the completion of the lectionary cycle, which means that the first time I wrote one of these musings was the Monday before the same readings that are coming up this Sunday. These readings happen to be among my favorites, because they have to do with giving thanks.
In the Old Testament, we hear the story of the healing of Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus heals ten lepers. But only one returns to give thanks.
Far too often we don't give thanks enough. Gratitude is the noblest emotion. Gratitude draws us out of ourselves into something larger, bigger, and grander than we could imagine and joins us to the font of blessing itself.
The hymn quoted above, "Now thank we all our God," was written back in the 1600's by Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor in Eilenberg, Germany. He was pastor throughout the devastation of the Thirty Years War. Eilenberg was a walled city and it became a refuge for many fugitives, which caused overcrowding. As a result there was disease and famine as well as the regular attacks by armies. At the war's peak Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals per day, more than 4000 in the year 1637, including his own wife's. In the middle of all this strife he wrote these words: "Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices; who wondrous things hath done in whom this world rejoices."
We serve a God offers us wholeness and healing through simple faith in Jesus Christ. And God replenishes that wholeness each and every time we come to the table of forgiveness and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.
The God who healed Naaman and the ten lepers is prepared to heal us - to transform us. We don't have to sacrifice, or tear our clothing, or to go on any pilgrimage to a foreign land. We simply come and receive it in the way that God has ordained - through the forgiveness won by Jesus on the Cross and freely poured out for us. We are washed through baptism, and assured of it through the Lord's Supper.
We call our worship service the Eucharist. That word comes from the Greek eucharisto, which means "thank you."
When we worship, we are giving thanks to God for all God has done for us through Jesus Christ.
Saturday, I will be in Washington, D.C., for the installation of the Rev. Leila Ortiz as Bishop of the Metro DC Synod of the ELCA.
Sunday morning, I will be with the people of God at Abiding Savior in Alliance, to recognize Pastor Jim Metzger's 65
th anniversary of ordained ministry.
And Sunday afternoon, I will be with the people of God at St. John Lutheran Church in Champion, to celebrate the congregation's 60th anniversary.
This week and always, do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]
+Bishop Abraham Allende