Pr. Jessica's Weekly Message - 10/28/20
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
To All the Saints at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church,
“Oh, when the saints go marching in, oh when the saints go marching in. O Lord I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.” (African American Spiritual)
You ARE the saints, you ARE in that number, made so in your Baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection. You are members of that “great multitude,” the beloved community of the living and the dead whom God calls his own. Notice, in these verses from Revelation, that no one saint is singled out for greatness or bravery or miracles. Everything is focused on the One seated on the throne, and the Lamb (Jesus) sitting by his side. Eternal life in John’s revelation is continuous worship among the most diverse, inclusive, beautiful, communal, joyful congregation ever known. All nations. All tribes. All languages. All peoples.
Our earthly worship is a foretaste of that worship. It is but a glimpse, and a flawed one at that, but enough of a glimpse to nourish us with faith, hope and love for our every-day earthly journey as saints in the world.
When I saw so many of your saintly faces on Zoom at our Congregational Meeting on Sunday, I was overwhelmed with joy. Cindy, Nathan and I stayed on the call after the meeting and decided we should try Zoom worship for All Saints. We need to see our fellow saints, especially on this special feast day, to remember that we have a communion, a community, a connection. We are not passive recipients of what happens in worship, but co-worshipers in the presence of God. As a colleague said to me recently, “God Zooms with us.” I have to believe it.
Here is the link for Sunday’s Zoom Worship at 10:15am: https://zoom.us/j/2445459917
Meeting ID: 244 545 9917
One tap mobile
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
If you are uncomfortable with Zoom, or would rather participate through Facebook, the worship will still be live-streamed there as well: https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsLutheranChurchJerseyCity
I will be distributing Holy Communion in the parking lot after the service this week.
Before church, on the first and third Sundays of the month, join the Adult Sunday School class, led by Jan Gallagher, as they look at the Bible readings you will hear in worship that day, at 9am, right here:https://zoom.us/j/91450636582?pwd=MSt6bm9VbWozMWJtbGZQUHNhT1lWUT09
Meeting ID: 914 5063 6582
That’s what you need to know for Sunday. Here’s what you need to know for TODAY, Wednesday the 28th:
Evening Prayer, 7pm: https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsLutheranChurchJerseyCity
7:30pm Adult class with Jan Gallagher on the problem of evil and pain in our pandemic world, and why a good God would allow it. Have your Bibles handy!
Thank you if you have already completed your Google pledge form for 2021 that was sent out on Sunday afternoon. Here’s the link again: https://forms.gle/LAaYLQUBJntWCK5v7
Also, if you want a hard copy and self-addressed, stamped envelope to make your pledge, let me know. We ask that you please fill out a pledge form or card by Sunday, November 15th. That is when the Council will really begin to draft a proposed 2021 budget, to be presented to you at our Winter Congregational Meeting in late January.
There are so many good resources available for “faith at home” activities, for people of all ages. I want to start sharing them with you, and put some on our church website as well. It is another way we can build up one another and strengthen our faith even while we are physically apart. Here is a huge collection of resources from the ELCA website: https://www.ministrylinks.online/faith-at-home.html
In case you didn’t know, there is a national election on Tuesday, November 3rd. Many are feeling anxious, afraid, alone, restless and even hopeful. Nathan Johnson will host an evening of prayer for those who would rather offer up those anxieties to God than stay glued to CNN. He will be on Zoom from 6-10pm that night and you can drop in and out as you wish. More formal prayer times will happen at 7pm and 9pm. I’ll send the link out on Monday.
God’s love and peace be with you to guide you today, and all week.