HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Days Like These

Time and again, over the past couple of weeks I have been bombarded with the words “days like these.” Usually in the context of enjoy them now, for you won’t have many more “days like these.”

“Aren’t you wearing a jacket?” I asked. “No,” He replied ” There won’t be many more days like these, so I’m going to enjoy the warmth.” (I still don’t think it was warm enough to be standing around outside without some kind of jacket though.)

“Stop your complaining, we are going outside for a walk.” the parents insisted “But our show is on!” the children whined. “Enjoy the walking while you can, you won’t get many more days like these. It’s a lot harder work to try and walk through snow up to your waist.” came the rejoinder and the inevitable grumping about the unfairness of life and such.

“Would you like a ride this morning?” she asked. “No thanks, I’ll just walk.” I stated. “Sure!” she joined in, “you’ve got to enjoy days like these, while we have them!” (You could tell she really didn’t want to be stuck behind the counter.)

Days like these.  Good days. Productive days. Days for getting out, for getting stuff done, for enjoying life and its every blessings.  Days that still have a whisper of summer sunshine, a hint of that warming sun.  Days that seem to slip through our fingers all too soon.  Because even as we grab hold of every last day like this, we know that we can’t hold on to them forever.  The signs are all around us that these days are soon coming to an end.  The smell of snow in the air. The dull grays and browns of nature bedding down for the long winter. The ever-present cacophony of the geese arrowing for the south while the getting’s good. While we enjoy days like these, we can’t lose ourselves in them for at the same time we are also saddened by the knowledge that other days are quickly coming.

There is a powerful metaphor for our Christian life in days like these.  We are quickly approaching the end of another Church year. Our focus is ever-increasingly on the end of time, on Christ’s return, on the day of judgement.  None of us know when that day will be, but we do know that is is coming closer all the time. (We are one day closer to the last day today than we were yesterday!) The days we enjoy now, will one day come to an end. Such a revelation can cause us sadness or lead us to whine, or it can do for our life now what everyone around me implicitly seems to understand already.

It can lead us to make the most out of days like these. Good Days for living in God’s Grace through Christ. Productive days for proclaiming the Gospel, for loving our neighbours, for getting our homes in order. Days for rejoicing in the Light of the Son, for basking in the warmth of His love. Days for doing the work of the Kingdom, for the days are coming when the work will be over, and we are called into our eternal home to sit at the table waiting us. As we prepare for the coming of that great day, let us make the most of days like these!

 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. [Joh 9:4]

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For All the Unsung Saints

November 1st has long been a day for the Christian Church to remember (and give thanks for) the saints of God. But when I remember the saints it is not the usual cast of characters that most often comes to mind.  David and Moses, Elijah and Jeremiah, the Apostles and Evangelists each have their own days – and rightfully so.  We would each do well to take the time to know and give thanks for their stories as each of their festival days come up.

But when All Saints Day rolls around each year it is not these great saints of the faith that I remember and thank God for.  For, in my mind, this day has always been one for the unsung saints. The sainted woman who though she had no children of her own was like a mother and grandmother to everyone in her congregation. The sainted man who loved and supported his son throughout his entire life … even when that son made bad decisions that caused a lot of grief and pain for his parents. The sainted wife and mother who raised her family in the faith, brooking no nonsense, but also holding back no part of herself and her love.  The boy who loves his sisters, even though his friends think that’s stupid. The girl who wants to help her mother just because it is the right thing to do. The man who is willing to step up and help out where and when needed. The woman who has only encouraging and uplifting words for everyone she meets …

These are the saints of God, unsung by the world but appreciated by me and everyone who knows them.  These are the people called by God and moved by faith in Christ to be who they are and to do what they do.  They are each one of them special in the way that Christ gives them to be. And through those seemingly minor gifts of ordinary people, the work of the Church goes on, and faith is delivered to new generations. The Gospel is mightily proclaimed. And so on this day, I am happy to sing of all that they have done for me … and their Lord, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

678  We Sing for All the Unsung Saints

 We sing for all the unsung saints, That countless, nameless throng,
Who kept the faith and passed it on  With hope steadfast and strong
Through all the daily griefs and joys  No chronicles record,
Forgetful of their lack of fame,  But mindful of their Lord.

Though uninscribed with date or place,  With title, rank, or name,
As living stones their stories join  To form a hallowed frame
Around the myst’ry in their midst:  The Lamb once sacrificed,
The Love that wrested life from death,  The wounded, risen Christ.

So we take heart from unknown saints  Bereft of earthly fame,
Those faithful ones who have received  A more enduring name:
For they reveal true blessing comes  When we our pride efface
And offer back our lives to be  The vessels of God’s grace.

Text (sts. 1–3): © 1996 Hope Publishing Co. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, number 100010248. Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.