Last week we were thoroughly entrenched in fall, Friday gave us a taste of winter. Saturday morning we woke up to just 10 degrees. Friday’s high was a very brisk 24. We have had some snow, but nothing too substantial. We did have enough snow on Friday that made the roads slick and the roads got salted and sanded for the first time. We do get a bit of a warm up this week, but there are rumors of a snow storm for next weekend. I’m not sure I want to be dreaming of a white thanksgiving.
Speaking of thanksgiving, we are getting ready for our community thanksgiving service. I will leading the music and looking forward to it. We also will be seeing our kids over thanksgiving.
This week instead of working out outside, Pam and I hit the fitness center at the local fire company. The treadmill is a different animal than running outside and I am still getting used to it. We did get out on Thursday. Wednesday our church had its annual harvest dinner. We had a great time. Otherwise, Pam and I have been busy with driving students.
We had a good service today as we honored our veterans. Pam and I team preached this morning. Our sermon title was “No Greater Love” and we talked about the Four Chaplains of World War II. I led the musical worship which isn’t something I usually do here at McCrae Brook, but it was really good. God was present in our worship and many hearts were touched.
This week we have a trip to Erie to the doctor and the normal things to do. So, time to sign off and enjoy the evening.
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today we honor those who served our country.
Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
So today we honor you…those who have served our country and we remember that on this day in 1918, what was then called the Great War came to an end. We had hoped there would never be another like it, but there was. I am so thankful to those who served…those who protect our freedoms that we enjoy.
Thank you for your service and your sacrifice for our country!
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (November 12, 2017)
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 | New Living Translation (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
At least two of this week’s readings look ahead to the time when Jesus returns to take those who believe in him to heaven with him – this passage in 1 Thessalonians and the Matthew passage both speak to the coming return of Jesus. I suppose it’s a look forward of the theme that is coming in Advent – the coming of the Lord.
The passage that we look at today is typically used to make the argument for a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. In our devotion, I want to avoid that – and really help us understand that this passage was written by Paul to encourage the believers. Remember that Jesus had made a promise that he would return and many of the 1st century believers thought that it would happen in their lifetime. When believers started dying of natural causes, there was skepticism of what would happen to those who died before Jesus return.
Here is where Paul shines and the point of this passage. This is a great passage to read when doing a funeral of a believer. Paul tells the church, “Do not grieve as those who have no hope.” Paul goes on to say that because we believe that Jesus died and rose again that those of us who put our trust in Jesus have the same hope of the resurrection. Check out Paul’s rather long discussion of that in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul tells us that when Jesus returns, those who have died in Christ, will bring back with him the believers who have already died. This is great hope. It is the hope that comes because of the resurrection of Jesus.
How will it happen? “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel , and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meed the Lord in the air.”
Paul gives us great hope that whether we are alive when Jesus returns, or if we have died, if we are a follower of Jesus, we will be resurrected and we will be with the Lord forever.
I love Paul’s final words, “So encourage each other with these words.” Those are great words this morning. We have a hope in the resurrected Christ that we too will be resurrected, so encourage your fellow believers today to live for Jesus.