In Sunday’s bulletin inserts you’ve perhaps noticed occasional references to saints commemorated on that particular day. While Lutherans don’t have the ceremonious recognition of the saints that some denominations do, in recent years we’ve reclaimed that heritage by noting the lives and work of many notable Christians through the ages, from Sts. Peter & Paul and all the apostles through Helena & Augustine, Francis of Assisi & Teresa of Avila, Florence Nightingale & Martin Luther King, Jr.
On pp. 10-12 in the green hymnal and 15-17 in the red you’ll see names of missionaries & martyrs, renewers of the church & renewers of society, men & women, Greeks, Germans, Norwegians, Bohemians, Africans, Asians & South Americans. The year of the death is also noted, and the date is usually when that person died – or, rather, was reborn into the Church Triumphant. When the author of Hebrews spoke about “so great a cloud of witnesses” (12:1), he probably little imagined how many more people would become a part of it, drawing from five continents and another 2000 years of God’s salvation history.
Through this summer we will look in worship at a number of these saints’ lives. Though not many of the commemorations happen to fall on Sunday, looking back or ahead a few days generally reveals someone whose story provides an interesting insight into the development of the church and the growth of the faith, whether in times of relative peace or in periods of great struggle.
May we be inspired by that “cloud of witnesses” that continues to surround and support us as we ourselves bear witness, in church and in society, to the good news of God’s love in Christ for us and for people in all times and all places of our world.
Yours in Faith,
Pastor Jeff Jacobs