When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" John 11:43
This Sunday is All Saints Day when we will remember all those we love who have died, especially those who have died in the past year, and who now know the joy and restoration of God’s eternal kingdom. We will hear the story of the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus, and of his resurrection through Jesus’ life-giving power.
Let’s say it–Death is the enemy. We fear it, worry about it, are devastated by it when it comes to those we love. The “little deaths” we face–loss of jobs or of dreams, betrayals, illness, all the struggles that try to knock us out of balance–are soldiers in Death’s army that we battle constantly during our time in this world.
But we’re not in this fight alone. Jesus is at the head, leading us through, giving us our battle strategy. As he says a little later in John’s Gospel, “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” And in his crucifixion and resurrection, he conquered Death.
When they led Jesus to Lazarus’ tomb, he called to Lazarus to “come out!” from the death that had bound him. Lazarus was restored to life and to service to Jesus–in the very next chapter, he is hosting a dinner for Jesus.
No matter what deaths we might be facing now–whatever lies heavy on our hearts or what sorrow the world gives us–Jesus is calling to us “Come out!” He offers us his love, his comfort, and his promise of salvation to come out and be restored to life and to service in his name. Pray to hear his voice calling you, and pray that we are there to love and support each other as each of us, at some time or another, heeds that call to come out from the darkness that has bound us.
Let loose your inner Martha–your “Martha Stewart,” that is! Trinity needs a few people who have a creative flair and who would help us to bring beauty to our worship and worship space through decoration and art. If you are interested in helping with our Worship Arts activities, please contact the church office or Mary Beth.
So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. Mark 10:42-44
Life doesn’t encourage us to be servants and slaves. Everything around us prods us to become a winner, a leader, have the best, have control, get others to do our bidding, show us respect, etc. But as he does so often, Jesus turns that all around when he explains what life as God’s people is like.
In 1889 in France, a 16-year-old girl named Thérèse Martin was given special permission by the Catholic Bishop to become a nun in the Carmelite order, even though she was under the normal age when this was allowed. She was the youngest child of a financially comfortable family. Becoming a member of the convent proved quite a change for her–she had never had to do housework or chores before, and her strong-willed nature could be a source of conflict with the other nuns–when you read about her life in the convent it really drives home the point that even among a group of people who decide to dedicate their lives to God, not everything is peace and harmony!
But Thérèse was determined to live her life as Jesus would have her do. One older nun in particular was particularly thorny–no one liked her, she was demanding and criticized everyone, and most everyone avoided her–but evidently she was so self-absorbed she never realized how unpleasant others found her. Thérèse decided that Jesus would want her to look beyond this woman’s shortcomings and see the child of God that she was made to be. So she set out to do for this sister everything that she would do for the one she loved most. Every time she saw her, she said a prayer for her to offer to God the virtues and good qualities that she knew God had instilled in the woman. While the other nuns avoided this prickly sister, Thérèse went out of her way to do as many services for her as she could and disciplined her tongue not to speak sharply to her or about her no matter how sorely tempted she was to do so.
The sister noticed Thérèse’s actions. One day she came to her and said, "My dear Sister Thérèse, tell me what attraction you find in me, for whenever we meet, you greet me with such a sweet smile." Thérèse just smiled again for she knew that what attracted her was Jesus hidden in the depths of the older woman’s soul–Jesus who makes sweet even that which is most bitter.
Thérèse made her ego, her emotions and her temper slaves and servants to Jesus. Let’s pray that we, too, can find the places to turn life upside down through being a servant for God!
Peace to you!
Mary Beth Commisso
Ho-Ho-Hope someone can help! WELCA would like to borrow aSanta Claus suit, preferably with a Santa volunteer inside, for WELCA’s Christmas Fair photo opportunity. The Christmas Fair will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please contact Joan Quinn, Marge Westerville, or any WELCA member.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands— O prosper the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17
According to the Conference Board, a non-profit organization that surveys US businesses, less than half of Americans say they are satisfied with their jobs. In addition, with rising unemployment, there are many more Americans who wish they had a job–even one that they could complain about! It’s not a rosy picture when you consider how much of our waking hours are spent in our livelihoods.
I’ll admit it–lately I’ve been feeling overworked and underappreciated at my job and it seems that this week a number of conversations I’ve had have with others at least touch upon how others are finding their situations stressful. We’ve shared sighs over the observation that there seems to be so little time and so much to do and that it’s just darn hard!
If you get a chance, read all of Psalm 90, and not just the portion that is part of our readings for this week. It’s a prayer that seems to sum up how so many are feeling about struggling in this human condition. It’s also a good reminder that no matter what earthly work we do, we need to see beyond the organization that employs us and remember that we do our labors for the “Big Boss”-dedicate each task to God’s glory, whether it’s teaching, folding laundry, doing a spreadsheet, loading a truck, etc. God’s blessing is the best job perk you could want!
Peace to you,
Mary Beth Commisso
Don’t forget to complete the Congregation Profile Survey by October 16! You can get a paper copy at church or complete it online at www.tinyurl.com/trinityprofile. Your input is an important contribution to our Call Committee process.
A major step in our Call Process is the completion of the Congregation Profile, a document that describes Trinity both in objective terms and also in terms of our goals, plans, strengths, and challenges. We need and welcome input from all members of Trinity as information is gathered to develop this document, which will be one way that pastors interested in serving at Trinity will get to know about us.
The Call Committee has developed a survey and would very much welcome your input. It is available to be completed online (see link below) and will also be available in paper form to be picked up on Sunday for those who would prefer to complete it that way.
We realize that you may not have answers for all the questions, but will greatly appreciate your responses to any of them that you can take the time to complete. We need your response by Friday, October 16.
We also rejoice with Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church as they celebrate the installation of the Reverend Scott Paradise as Pastor, with a service of Holy Communion at 4:00 pm on Sunday, October 4, 2009. Clergy and other rostered leaders are invited to vest and process. The liturgical color is green.
If you have questions about the survey, please contact any member of the Call Committee: