As I thought about the 10 bridesmaids waiting for the delayed bridegroom in Sundays’ Gospel lesson (Matthew 25:1-13), a long-ago love song by Connie Francis ran through my mind. “I will wait for you…For a 1,000 summers I will wait for you…Forevermore, I will wait for you.”
It’s been about 2,000 summers since Jesus told the parable of his return and we are stilling waiting, or are we? When I was in school I wished that Jesus would return when final exams loomed, and term papers were due. But otherwise, I don’t spend much time watching and waiting.
And yet, scripture is all about God’s coming. From His coming to create the heavens and earth, to his choosing Abraham; rescuing Israel from slavery in Egypt; returning them from exile in Babylon; His coming in the flesh in Jesus; to his resurrection; the promise of his return; to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to our baptism; to his promise at the end of Revelation, “Surely, I am coming soon.”
We are waiting in readiness when we trust in and live by, “The grace of our Lord Jesus…” Throughout all our summers and winters.
Baptism of Martin Luther
November 11, 1483 was a big day for Hans and Margarette Luther. Their oldest child was born the day before. Today, Hans took him to church and he was baptized and given the name, “Martin.” Why “Martin?”
November 11 was the day the church set aside to remember Martin of Tours. Martin was born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary about 316 AD. He grew up in Lombardy, Italy. He came to the Christian faith as a young person. His first career was in the Roman army. But he sensed a call to a life in the church and left the military, becoming a monk. Eventually he was named bishop of Tours in western Gaul (France). He lived a simple life and shared the Gospel throughout rural Gaul. He died November 11.
Lord God of hosts, Your servant Martin embodied the spirit of sacrifice. Through your grace he became a servant of Christ and defended the catholic faith. Give us grace to follow in his steps so that when our Lord returns we may be clothed with the baptismal garment of righteousness and peace. through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Psalm 143: 1 & 10, Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
I’m borrowing this from Jerry Kieschnick, past President of the LCMS.
A woman hurrying out of a pharmacy to her car discovered her keys locked inside. She found a coat hanger lying beside the car. She said, “I don’t know how to use this thing.”
She asked God to send help.
Within five minutes a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded old biker wearing skull rag. He asked if he could help.
The lady said, “Yes, my daughter is home sick. I’ve locked my keys in the car. Could you use this hanger to unlock the car?”
He said, “Sure.” And in less than a minute he opened the door. The woman hugged the man and through tears said, “Thank you, God, for sending such a nice man.”
The man heard her prayer and replied, “Lady, I’m not a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday. I’ve been serving time for car theft.”
The woman hugged him again, praying, “Oh, thank you, God for sending a professional.”
One day I was walking on San Bonita near Concordia Seminary, when a bagel landed at my feet.
It wouldn’t be the first-time bread came from heaven. In the time of Moses, the Israelites came out of their tents one morning and found the ground was covered with some fine flake like things. “What is it?” Moses said, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”
Psalm 78 makes the event sound like the flood. “God… opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat… Man ate the bread of angels…”
In John 6, Jesus tells the people they should work for the bread that gives eternal life. That work is to “believe in him whom he (God) has sent.”
Jesus offers us something even more heavenly than a cinnamon crunch orb. “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Now that’s even better than a buttered bagel falling from the heavens.
The prayer of the Day for All Saints Sunday begins, “Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ.”
The almighty and eternal God begins his knitting project in the womb, as Psalm 139 puts it, “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” St. Paul writes of God knitting his people together in Colossians 2, encouraging us to hold tightly onto Christ our Head because it’s from him the whole church is, “Knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”
Our prayer extends God’s knitting project to include all who trust in Christ throughout the world and throughout time. The prayer continues that God would “Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that together with them we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love you”
This would be a time to visit our cemeteries thinking of those who have lived exemplar lives leaving us a pattern to follow in our own lives. We might also consider those saints still alive who also influence our daily lives.