All Saints…new beginnings

Fall backBeing from Saskatchewan where time doesn’t change I was surprised to discover that our fall time change actaully happens at different times around the world. For example, in Brazil it occurs on Sunday, October 18; in the Palestinian Territories it’s at midnight on Friday, October 23; in Greenland its Saturday, October 24; and in Europe it’s Sunday, October 25. Here in North America the time changes on Sunday, November 1 at 2 am.

There’s another change that will occur next Sunday and it’s a change that most people are not aware of; a change that can even take place every day.

Next Sunday is All Saints’ Day. This church festival officially occurs every November 1st and therefore, it’s not too often that it falls on a Sunday. Normally, we have to celebrate it on the next Sunday after Reformation Sunday.

Like many church festivals the origin of All Saints’ Day is uncertain. In the early 5th century on the first Friday after Easter the church commemorated those who had been martyred for the faith. This festival eventually included all who had been made holy through the work of the Holy Spirit in baptism. In baptism, through water and the Word, we are joined to Christ’s death and resurrection. We are washed clean, changed and are given the robes of Christ’s righteousness. It is in this sense that we become saints.

It was in England and Ireland that this festival of All Saints’ began to be celebrated on November 1 and this became the date for the Western Church.

Luther chose the eve of All Saints’ Day, October 31, to post his Ninety-five Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany because he wanted the crowds who would come to church on the following day (All Saints’) to see them. His action became another new beginning for the church on All Saints Day as the purity of the Gospel was once again proclaimed to set people free.

This coming Sunday we will celebrate the baptism of Autumn. In the waters of baptism her sinful nature will be drowned with Christ in His death on the cross and she will be forgiven. Autumn will then be raised with Christ in His resurrection to receive the gifts of faith, life and salvation. Baptism is a powerful proclamation of the Gospel and our new beginnings in Christ.

Baptism is also our daily entry into those new beginnings through the promise of Christ. Even though we have been made righteous through Christ in baptism, we continue at the same time to sin daily. It is for this reason that we need to every day go back to the promise spoken to us at our baptism: “In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.” It is these words of promise by which you and I have been made God’s children. Through faith in what Christ has done for us we can have this new beginning every day: forgiveness, new life and salvation.

I invite you to come and join us in celebrating what God has done and promises to continue to do every day.

– Pastor Tim