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“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
The wind has picked up, leaves are dropping, and rain is falling… it’s definitely fall. People come down off the natural high of summer and often face a bit of depression at the turn of the season. This year, it’s uniquely accompanied by some things that might might make facing the fall even more daunting. October will bring to head the tempest that will be General Synod 2021 and impact our entire denomination. We addressed some aspects of this in Sunday’s sermon, and our own elders – Mark Sanders and Ben Keller – will be headed there October 14 – 19.
Reading the 73 page document in the Synod workbook, it’s clear that part of the argument for a new, progressive view of human sexuality, and the authority of scripture, effectively focuses on how we’re made in the image and likeness of God and yet… conveniently avoids facing the reality of the fall. In this case, of course, I’m talking about the fall of man into sin, probably the greatest “change of season” that ever hit creation… and has inevitably and tragically weathered it severely ever since. Talk about seasonal affective disorder… it’s brought darker days and colder nights in spiritual ways that make our October look positively pleasant by comparison.
Heap the reality of human sin on lingering COVID issues, sick congregants, and uncertain futures in terms of our church, it could be a very heavy month that weighs us down… but instead of trying to distract ourselves from the fall, the real power is in facing it, and facing the one who has reconciled us despite it’s seemingly overwhelming impact. This coming Sunday is a communion Sunday, where we’ll remember the one whose righteousness overcame the effects of the fall and offers salvation. We’ll pray over and commission Mark and Ben for their journey to General Synod, and we’ll see a turn in Exodus 35 where after God’s instruction, he gives his people marching orders to move forward. To trust Him! Our kids in Children’s Ministry will learn how God helps us and frees us from the things that enslave.
We’ll also have signups for Saturday October 17 for all day prayer coverage, when the big Synod issue hits the floor.
The answer, friends, is not to avoid thinking about the fall, or denying it, or trying to minimize it… whether we’re talking about a dark season of weather, or downplaying the reality of sin’s presence in the world and our hearts. The answer is to move forward as God’s people, trusting and looking to the cross and Christ crucified. Believe it our not, that’s something that American Christianity has started to obscure, and we’ll be having a special night of film Friday the 15th to ground ourselves in godly truth and good doctrine as we face the storms ahead.
And we won’t just batten down the hatches to stay safe ourselves, we have opportunity to help others too. Remember to bring single-serving food donations Sunday for the Nourishing Network, and prepare to hear some new ways we can bless needy children abroad as we move into the holidays! Together we can face the fall, fearless in Christ, loving God and our neighbor, in Jesus’ name.
Grace and peace,