Listen to me, you who look for righteousness,
you who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry where you were dug.
Look to Abraham you ancestor,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
They were alone when I called them,
but I blessed them and made them many.
– Isaiah 51:1-2
If you are trying to find righteousness and justice, if you are trying to find God’s way, then look to where you came from. Look to the ancestors. Look to your predecessors in the faith. Put another way, if you’re trying to live a Godly life, then learn from the saints.
Protestants don’t have a very strong tradition of studying the lives of the saints. It’s one of those practices that often seems to strike us as too Roman Catholic. It’s a bit strange, when you think about it, though. We study the story of God’s relationship with humanity from the earliest times up until nearly the time of Jesus in the Hebrew Bible. Then we study the life of Jesus and the very early church in the New Testament. But you we usually don’t spend much time at all study the relationship between God and the church in all the intervening time between the second century and now. That’s a lot of lived faith and experience that we’re missing out on.
Though few of us probably use them, both Lutherans and Methodists have a calendar of saint days, a listing and schedule of saints whose lives are worth studying and imitating. The Lutheran calendar for this week remembers: the Apostle Bartholomew, one of the Twelve; Moses the Black, a fourth-century Ethiopian convert and monk who died for his faith; and Augustine of Hippo, the most influential theologian in Western Christianity. The Methodist calendar includes those three and adds Georgia Harkness, an early twentieth-century Social Gospel theologian who opposed racism, supported the ordination of women, and was the first woman to teach in a mainline Protestant seminary in the US. She also wrote the hymn “This Is My Song,” found both in the United Methodist Hymnal and Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
We may not pray to the saints, like Roman Catholics do, but we can certainly learn something from them. Whether they lived in the first century, the fourth century, or the twenty-first century, we can learn so much from seeing how real people, in a variety of different circumstances, lived out their Christian faith. If it’s not already a part of your devotional practice, I encourage you to learn more about our forebears in the faith and consider how their lives still witness to us today.
Your Servant in Christ,
++ This Sunday 24th is Food on the 4th. You may donate non-perishable food items; egg cartons can always be used.
++ SPRC meets this Sunday at 11:30 in the Outreach house.
++ Card making class meets at 1:15 in the fellowship hall.
++ WELCA bible study meets Tuesday 26th at 2:00pm.
++ Join the choir! Anyone interested is invited to a potluck Thursday August 28th at 6pm with current choir members at Morning Song Acres. There will be singing, eating, and fellowship. Speak with Marv Turner if you have any questions.
++ Sunday 31st Special Giving : you may donate school supplies or funds for supplies Parkdale Elementary School. Thank you Faith In Action for planning this giving.
++ Pastor Jill Rowland has accepted a call and is serving as CPE supervisor and chaplain at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Randall Children’s Hospital, and The Oregon Burn Center. A Service of Installation for Jill takes place Friday, September 5, at 4:00pm / Lorenzen Conference Center of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center / 2801 N. Gantenbein Ave / Portland, OR. Clergy are invited to vest in the stole of their choice. Please RSVP by Monday, August 25th to: Lori Rice (Admin. Asst.) 503-413-4151 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
++ Fall Women’s Retreat at Cannon Beach Conference Center
The retreat is October 31-Nov 2nd. Our time together begins Friday evening and wraps up after worship on Sunday. The book for this year’s study is The Noticer by Andy Andrews. Look for more detailed information (rates, activities etc )in the September Newsletter when it comes out the end of August. Attendance and roommate sign-ups will be in the narthex the beginning of September.
If I roll my chair to the left of my desk, I can see through the trees the beginning of a beautiful ministry! Granted, there is a “wall” of dirt and sod which blocks part of the view, but I hear the sounds and feel the rumble in the ground of the backhoe and dump truck. Men at work; God at work. How wonderful!