REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR AMY JO
A Special All Saints Day
All Saints Day is the great celebration of the community of the saints. The community of the saints is made up of all followers of Christ, both living and those who have died and been resurrected. We celebrate the belief that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” and that we are united by that love, which is stronger even than death. During our worship service on November 5, we will light candles in memory of loved ones who have died and been resurrected during the past year. The burning flame reminds us of the Spirit of God, which unites us in Christian community and also of the bright spark of light that their lives showed while they were living with us on earth.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This year’s celebration of All Saints Day also marks an important anniversary in the life of the church universal, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Although schism in the life of the church is always painful, we also celebrate the doctrines of faith that arose from the works of Martin Luther, including the doctrine that faith (not good works) provides us with a path to salvation. In humility, we understand that we are always called to reflect on the Church and consider what ways that it might be “reformed” to better live out our calling as Christ’s body. In this way, we are allowing God to perfect us in love, both individually and as a group.
The structure of the United Methodist Church is designed to incorporate our continual reflection, growth, and reformation. Every four years our worldwide body gathers to consider how we will move forward together as the church. Although our Articles of Religion (which describe our most fundamental beliefs about God) do not change, anything else within the Book of the Discipline may be revised in order to better live out the will of God together. Any United Methodist may submit a petition to be considered by the General Conference at our quadrennial meeting, because we believe that the Spirit of God continues to work through all of the people of the Church. We appreciate the spirit of reformation that arose in Martin Luther 500 years ago, humbly acknowledging that God is continuing to shape us as individuals and as the Church. Perhaps in your own prayer life, you have been aware of the ways that God is re-shaping you at this time and place. Perhaps God is also calling you to lead in the re-shaping of the Church. May God’s Spirit continue to flow over all of us.
Pastor Amy Jo