On the heels of the observance of 500 years since the beginning of the Reformation of the Church, and on the threshold of the celebration of Zion’s 275th Anniversary, I am thankful and humbled to be a participant in these events.
In every generation people have their own unique opportunities for remembering and celebration events that are of special importance. We sit in our unique historical position and are loathe to ignore these dates that mark significant advances in human achievement.
The Reformation was the beginning of a new way of understanding that people have a right and a privilege to think and act independently of the powers that govern, whether in the Church or in the civil realm. But of course with the right to decide comes the responsibility to decide with truth and integrity. How can we know what the right course of action might be in any given situation?
In the era of the internet, when everyone believes that they are their own experts, which means nobody is acknowledged to be an expert, it is hard to know in whom to rely for honest information on the things that matter. There was a time when we went to the authoritative source for guidance and truth but now people seemed confused as to whom to believe. ‘Who can help me in this situation?’
In November each year we lift up All Saints Day as a time to remember those ‘saints’ who have gone before us and those who are living among us. We value the experience of the past and the lives of people who blazed a trail for us to follow. Clearly, not everyone who went before us was a paragon of virtue or the fountain of truth and knowledge, but, to quote that much used phrase: ‘those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat is.’ Maybe we really should pay attention to the path our saints have trod and learn from that journey. Maybe we really do need to study history and the great writings of the past. Maybe we need to learn from the painful mistakes made by our forebears.
We give thanks for all that we have, for all that we are, and all that we will become. We thank God for the bounty of the earth and the promise of tomorrow. And we give thanks for all the Saints who have yet much to teach us.
Your companion in Ministry,