Tuesday, November 1, 2016


November 6                       Pentecost 25 - Proper 27 - Divine Service Setting 1
                                                Luke 20:27–82 “After death, is there anything?”

November 11                    Pentecost 26 – Proper 28 - Matins
                                                Luke 21:5-19 “Doing Your Best when things are at their worst”

November 20                    Christ the King – Missions
                                                Luke 23:35-43 “Jesus Lord at Thy Death”

November 23                    Thanksgiving Eve Service with Holy Communion
                                                1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “How do we have Thanksgiving?”
November 24                    Thanksgiving Day Service with Holy Communion
                                                Luke 17:11-19 “Who bothers to thank God?”

November 27                    Advent 1 Matins
                                                Matthew 24:36–44 “The Lord Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us Now”

November 30                    Mid-week Advent 1
                                                Matthew 1:18-25 - Characters of the Nativity-Joseph

As we approach the coming election, we remember that we have been given many freedoms and with such freedoms come the responsibility of exercising our right to vote. As we think about our elected leaders, we recall from Scripture St. Paul’s instruction in Romans 13 that God works through our elected leaders, that we should pray for them; specifically that a time of tranquility and peace be granted unto us so that we can be about the work of mission. To that end, we pray for our nation and our elected leaders that responsible leadership might be demonstrated and established on every level of government. Pray and work – that’s the definition of the Christian’s life calling. 

A Collect For Good Government

Eternal Lord, Ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that they may be guided by your Spirit, be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably, through Jesus Christ, our Lord

A Collect For Responsible Citizenship

Lord, keep this nation under your care.  Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth.  Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve you faithfully in our generation to the honor of your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A Prayer For Our Country

Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage.  Grant that we remember your generosity and constantly do your will.  Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life.  Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action.  Make us who came from many nations with many different languages a united people.  Defend our liberties, and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that there may be justice and peace in our land.  When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankfully; and in troubled times do not let our trust in you fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A Collect For Agriculture

As our farmers work on bringing in the harvest, please remember them in your prayers.

Almighty God, you blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives.  Prosper, we implore you, the work of farmers, and grant us seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruits of the earth and proclaim your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Reason to Be Thankful
 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”  So writes the psalmist in Psalm 107:1, and he goes on to list specific acts of God for which he gives thanks.  David, in Psalm 103, writes, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name . . . and forget not all His benefits . . .” and he, too, recounts the wonders of the Lord.  It is a common occurrence in the psalms of David that, although he may express anguish and despair, he always ends his psalms on a note of confidence, for he knows his life is in God’s almighty hands.

It’s Thanksgiving time.  Perhaps you’re not feeling so thankful. Maybe you’ve suffered the loss of someone you held dear.  Maybe your health has deteriorated.  Read what the prophet Habakkuk had to say about feelings and circumstances:  “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).  If we received none of God’s good gifts on this Earth, we have reason to rejoice in our Savior Who waits for us in Heaven!  He is the source of our joy and the object of our gratitude.  “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).

Therefore, with hearts filled with thanksgiving, we can respond in words and acts of compassion and encouragement to those around us.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  We share our financial resources as God gives us the ability, finding that He blesses and multiplies them just as He did the fish and bread the boy offered for the feeding of the 5000 (John 6:5-13).  Let us not be like the disciples who didn’t believe that Jesus had the power to feed the large crowd of people that had gathered.  In Christ, we know that all things are possible.  He empowers our giving that expresses our gratitude to Him for Who He is and what He has done for us.  Just as Jesus magnified the boy’s small gifts, enabling them to nourish 5,000 plus people, so He multiplies our small gifts, brought forth willingly and joyfully.

In the midst of a Civil War, as our country was dealing with any number of issues where the outcome was uncertain, on 3 October 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the observance of the fourth Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving.  Truly, God was with His people then. He remains with us even now.  At the time, our congregation was in its infancy, having celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.

As much as things change, often times they remain the same. Soon our country will hold a national election. As our country was facing numerous issues back then, so our citizens will go to the ballot box to elect those candidates they feel will best lead our country, state, and community.  We live under a representative democratic republic, which means the sovereign power resides in a certain body of the people (the electorate) and is exercised by representatives elected by, and responsible to them.  We choose representatives and they make the rules that we live by until it is time to choose again.  If we are satisfied with their work, they are re-elected; if not, another will take their place.

As Christians, we have an understanding that those who have been elected are placed in office as God’s representative for us. They are God’s agent for a certain period of time, whether they realize this or not. As a result, we pray for our leaders for they are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. St. Paul would remind us in Romans 13, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  It is not my place as pastor to tell you for whom to vote. Each must vote their conscience. It is, however, necessary for each of us to exercise our right as citizens to vote, to pray for our representatives, and to work within our system of government to make our community, state, and nation as strong as it can be.

Despite the challenges facing our country, we have been blessed. For one hundred-seventy-eight years the members of our Friedheim family have gathered together to thank the Lord for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. This will be the thirtieth Thanksgiving I have been permitted to celebrate with you!  During this significant and important month of November, may each of us pause and take the time to reflect on the many ways in which the Lord has blessed us, sustained us through His Word, and continues to order and direct our lives. People of God, we have been blessed!  Be a blessing to those around you.

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