Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Luke 12:49-59

"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

"And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny."
Devotional
My favorite liturgical holiday is All Saints Day, November 1st of every year. I love how the silliness of Halloween with costumed children, candy treats, and ghost stories, catapults us into a liturgical moment where we can remember the people who have had the greatest impact on our lives.

I served a church once that had the names of every pastor that had ever served the church since 1774 hanging on the walls of the sanctuary, each name handwritten with beautiful calligraphy. I loved All Saints Day there because the saints were always all around us, even the ones whose names were only names to us and not personalities we still remembered.

Sanctuaries are always great places for finding and remembering saints. Pews and stained glass windows often have names of matriarchs and patriarchs of the church. Pew Bibles and hymnals are typically inscribed with names of loved ones. Flowers are dedicated weekly for new babies, anniversaries, birthdays, and even deaths - all evidence of saints among us.

The word “saints” often comes with a pious connotation of long since deceased people known for their virtue, and in the case of the Roman Catholic church, their posthumous miracles. I take a wider view of saints. My saints are not always deceased, not always virtuous, and not miracle workers. For me, a saint could be anyone for whom I have deep gratitude for what truth they have taught me.

Not all truths are easy pills to swallow, and not all saints are endearing. I heard stories about the personalities behind some of those names on the sanctuary walls and not all of them were heartwarming tales. Not every pastor serves every church well. Still, the names brought on stories because each person was part of the fabric that gave that church their identity. There is an important truth in that. Our lives outlive our bodies.

It is tempting to see a time of judgment in today’s scripture but I think it is a reminder to keep the memory of the past and the worry about the future in perspective with the present. For as much as we might be at odds with the very saints who formed our identities, and for as anxious as we might be about forecasting the future, those things are only as meaningful as how we use them in this present moment. Jesus’s teaching is a reminder to keep our interpretation of events in the present and not judgments on the past or soothsayings about the future.

Years ago when I went back to visit the church, I noticed that my name had been added to the wall. Ellan wrote it. She is a (now retired) art teacher who had learned calligraphy, and who I had conscripted into helping me sell Heifer shares at our alternative Christmas shopping event one year. She beautifully inscribed names and messages on the gift cards for people who bought Heifer shares for their loved ones. Ellan taught me that sometimes beauty is the gift.
Instead of a prayer, I offer you this quote by Frederick Buechner from The Sacred Journey for your own prayerful reflection:

“On All Saints’ Day, it is not just the saints of the church that we should remember in our prayers, but all the foolish ones and wise ones, the shy ones and overbearing ones, the broken ones and the whole ones, the despots and tosspots and crackpots of our lives who, one way or another, have been our particular fathers and mothers and saints, and whom we loved without knowing we loved them and by whom we were helped to whatever little we may have, or ever hope to have, of some kind of seedy sainthood of our own.”
Frozen Turkey Collection for Elizabethport
This year, when the need is greater than ever, PCW will once again be collecting frozen turkeys for our friends at the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center. Please consider donating a frozen turkey and/or nonperishable side items (e.g., stuffing mix, canned vegetables, pasta, canned fruit, etc.)

With outside visitors having limited access to the Parish House, we must modify how we collect these items.
  • A cooler labelled “FROZEN TURKEYS” will be outside the Parish House doors on the parking lot level.
  • There will also be a second bin for the non-perishable items.

TURKEYS WILL BE ACCEPTED MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 9AM – 3PM ONLY! 
Please do NOT leave a turkey outside overnight. It will thaw, and be wasted.
All donations must be received by November 20th.

Thank you for your support!
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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