This Sunday is "Reformation Sunday" in which Protestant denominations remember the founders of the Protestant Church, all of whom were active in the early to mid 1500's: Martin Luther (Lutheran), John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli (Reformed), George Blaurock and Conrad Grebel (Anabaptist), and Thomas Cranmer (Church of England). In a similar fashion, John and Charles Wesley could be considered in the group as they sought the reformation of the Church of England in the mid 1700's.
Also, since Monday, November 1 is "All Saints Day" we will be celebrating "All Saints Sunday". We will remember people connected to our churches who have passed away this year: Robert Alcorn, Blanche Beulow, Ethel Hoskey, Adeline Johnston, and Ray Sorenson. I would also like to remember a few other people whom I have held funeral services for: Edward Hines, Frederick Rachey, and Don Pitt.
Our Reading this Week:
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 - The prophet Habakkuk wants to know why evil and wickedness seem to prevail over good and righteousness. Chapter 1 is his series of questions to that point (we get the main gist of it in verses 2-4). In verse 2:1, Habakkuk says he will wait for the Lord's reply and God's reply is the balance of the chapter. The basic answer is, "if redemption is not here now, wait for it for it will soon come." That is an answer we never like to hear.
Psalm 119:137-144 - Two week ago we had another section out of this Psalm, which is the longest chapter in the Bible. Here, the psalmist knows that God's goodness and judgments are right even in the midst of his suffering.
[Alternates: Isaiah 1:10-18 - God decries sacrifices and meaningless festivals and wants humanity to practice justice with the promise of redemption (verses 16-18); and Psalm 32:1-7 - The psalmist opens his heart with confession and receives forgiveness and redemption.]
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 - In these verses Paul greets the church, gives thanks and brags to others of their faithfulness, and prays for them that they might bring glory to God.
Luke 19:1-10 - (singing) "Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. . ." We jump a number of stories in Luke to get to the story of Zacchaeus. Following the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, we skip the story of Jesus blessing the little children (singing: "Jesus love the little children, all the children of the world. . . ."), the story of the rich young ruler who couldn't give up his wealth, Jesus' third prediction of his death and resurrection, and Jesus healing the blind beggar near Jericho. When Jesus blesses the children he says, "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." All of the stories, with the possible exception of the prediction, are examples of receiving or not receiving the kingdom including our reading today and the parable of the ten pounds which follows. Luke 18:15 - 19:27 should be read as a whole. Jesus call all people to the kingdom and Zacchaeus is one, sinner that everyone proclaims him to be, who enters into the kingdom. What about you?
May God bless you and may you grow into God's Word and Kingdom.