[L]et us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. ~ Galatians 6:9-10
St. Paul’s admonition above is to the Church at Galatia who were undergoing a bit of an identity crisis. They were new to “the Way” and were trying to live by the Gospel that Paul had brought to them, but they were falling prey to the leaders of the “circumcision party” who were trying to force them to follow the old rules of Judaism if they were going to be true Christians. Paul’s argument is that Christ has set them free…they are no longer subject to the law because Christ has fulfilled the law and gives them the kingdom by grace. Circumcision is not a requirement, but rather what is important is the circumcision of the heart and that Christ has made them a new creation.
In order to walk in this freedom then, Paul encourages love and support of one another within the Church, what he now calls the household of faith. There are many things that can be done for one another, but not all people have the financial, physical, or even chronological abilities to do much. But the one thing that we all can do, and the one thing that we should be doing for one another is praying. We pray for those in need, like on our prayer list, but we also pray for those whose needs are unknown, for those who have absented themselves from the household of faith for some time, for those we love and for those we have a hard time loving. It is a charge that we ought to take seriously on a daily basis. Luther suggested we pray every morning and every evening, Paul said we should pray without ceasing, and Jesus says we should pray daily since every day we ask “give us this day our daily bread.”
At the end of this month we will once again start over…it is the beginning of a new Church Year when we will start once more our annual rehearsal of the life of Christ and the story of our salvation. I would invite all of you, all of us as the household of faith, to spend this year in prayer, not just for our own needs and the needs of our world, but for the good of others in our fellowship.
Beginning on the First Sunday in Advent, which is the weekend of November 29 (I know, Christmas is that close!), we will once again undertake the task of praying for all the families in our congregational membership over the course of the Church Year. Each week at our Divine Services, we will pray for 5-6 families asking God to bless them, help them where needed, and encourage them in their life of faith and love. When it is time for your family to be prayed for, you will receive a letter in the mail that week informing you that you are being prayed for that weekend. In addition to our service prayers, your names will be listed on our prayer list that week, and I would encourage all of us to pick up a copy for our own household and continue to pray for those families throughout the week, even as we lift up the needs of those who are hurting and suffering.
You all know what a comfort it is to hear that others are praying for you when you are going through a tough time. So, I invite you to join me in praying for the families of this household of faith, that we may bless one another and may continue to do good to all, especially those here at St. John’s. We have a wonderful community here, and our life together will only be enhanced that much more as we love one another through our prayers and petitions to God. May the Lord bless you as you pray, and may you pray in the confidence that our Lord hears and answers, always according to his will and purpose for you and for all of us in the household of God!
Jesus, advocate on high,
Sacrificed on Calvary’s altar,
Through Your priestly blood we cry:
Hear our prayers, though they may falter;
Place them on Your Father’s throne
As Your own. (LSB #773, st. 3)
~ Pastor Noack
Baptism classes – If you have a baptism scheduled in the coming months, or if you are thinking about it (you can actually take this before the baby is born you know), you are asked to attend one of our Baptism Classes. Classes for the fall will be held on September 26 at 9:30am, October 31 at 9:30am, November 14 at 10:30am, or December 12 at 10:30am. If you have questions, please call the Church office.
Music – Check out Cindy’s page on the music program, and consider participating in some way in the coming year. We have a very talented congregation, and I know there are gifts out there that are not being used! What better way to serve the Lord, and the people of God at St. John’s, then with voice or instrument to sing His praise and declare His love!