I am writing this the day before the official arrival of fall, but already the smell of fall is in the air. The days are getting shorter, the evenings are cooler and the vegetable gardens are yielding their harvest. The fall season has its own special beauty. This week, while traveling with Logan to Trinity we saw two deer in a hayfield, and the morning was cool enough that we could see their breath. In the background sun-christened mountains corralled a downy blanket of fog which filled the valleys beneath. We give thanks and praise to the God who made creation, the seasons and all things!
The faithful rotation of the seasons can lull into a sense of complacency. After all, spring follows winter and fall just as surely as tomorrow will follow today. But the season of Fall also reminds us that the time is short. After giving up their harvest, those vegetable gardens will die. The leaves will shed their leaves and the darkness will increase each day. The year is winding down and soon we will be replacing our old calendars with new ones.
There are many, many people living in your area for whom the time is short. No one knows how long he or she will live, but there will come a day for every person when this life will come to an end and we will have to account for what we have done in this life. As the Bible says, “Just as people are destined to die once,and after that to face judgment,…” (Hebrews 9:27)
If that was where the story ended, we would be doomed to a hopeless and fear-filled existence. But as a people marked with the cross of Christ, we carry around within us the second part of that message: “…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
When you live out your faith in the context of your home, your workplace, your school or your community, you are communicating the Good News message of forgiveness, eternal life and salvation won for all by the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And when you give a financial gift to your Christian church, you are supporting the work that you and others are doing together to communicate that Good News message, such as the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, the administration of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism, teaching young and old about the Christian faith through Sunday School, VBS, Confirmation, Youth Groups and our Small Group Ministry, and organizing service and mission opportunities like outreach events and mission trips. These are things that we cannot do by ourselves, so we pool our energy and resources so that more and more people will know that, in Jesus, they have a God who loves them, forgives them and gives them a life with him that will last forever.
The time is short. Because of Jesus, we are not anxious for ourselves, but we act out of concern for those who do not yet know him. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Thank you for your prayers, service and support for the work that Christians around the world are doing together for the sake of God’s kingdom!