So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up.
— Hebrews 12:1-3
This Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday when we celebrate the lives and the faith of those who have gone before us. I am returning to a passage of scripture that was the focus of the sanctuary sermons on October 14, but emphasizing a different aspect of it: the “great cloud of witnesses.” The great cloud of witnesses are those who have gone before us in the faith — who experienced the challenges and demands of living out the faith through good times and bad, through peaceful times and times of conflict, through good health and illness, in happiness and sorrow, and through certainty and doubt. We will celebrate Holy Communion together, and, as we kneel or stand around the Lord’s Table, we remember that we are bound together in Christ with one another and with the Communion of Saints. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and at the Lord’s Table we will name the members of our congregation who died during the past year (ending October 15) and remember them with thanksgiving.
I will also begin a three-part sermon series focusing on our church at an important time in its history entitled Next90. We’ll look back this Sunday on the past 90 years — from the time the members of this church broke ground on our present facilities until today. We’ll celebrate those courageous men and women who stepped out in faith to enable the ministries of the church to thrive for the next 90 years. On Sunday, November 11 we’ll take a good look at where we are today as a congregation. Then, on Sunday, November 18 we’ll look toward the future and consider what God is calling us to do in our time to enable the ministries of the church to thrive for the next 90 years.
Please mark your calendar for an important opportunity to learn more about the vision for the Next90, in particular the vision for the facilities of our church. Facilities do exactly what the word means: they facilitate. How will we facilitate the continued growth of our ministries going forward? I invite you to come to the information session on Sunday afternoon, November 11, at 2:00 in the Sanctuary. We set the time at 2:00 so that you can go to lunch after the morning Sunday School and Worship times and return for the meeting. I hope you’ll plan to come and learn more about the vision that our Building Study Committee has been working on for the past two years.
I encourage you to be present for these special Sundays as we think together about who we are and where God is leading us as a congregation. Oh, and don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before you retire on Saturday night!
Grace and Peace,