Dear Congregational Family,

All Hallow’s Eve & All Saints Day: This Thursday is “Halloween” which is our modern and shortened way of saying “All Hallow’s Eve.” “All Hallow’s Eve” means “All Holy Evening” and it precedes “All Saints Day” which is the day that we remember and celebrate those saints of God who were called home to glory in the past, as well as recalling to mind how we are made “saints” (“holy ones”) by the grace of God alone. This is why Martin Luther chose All Hallow’s Eve as the day to nail his Ninety-five Thesis to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. He was calling for reform in the church, especially on the issue that salvation is by grace alone. We are made “saints” of God through the gracious forgiveness of God because of Christ’s sacrifice for us upon the cross. This grace cannot be earned, purchased, nor is it deserved by us. It is purely a gift of grace!

All Saints’ Sunday: This Sunday is always a special one for our congregation as we sing a number of our favorite hymns, such as “For all the Saints”, “In Heaven Above”, and “Behold a host.” It is also the Sunday during which we remember all those who have passed away since this Sunday last year. We have many this year, and we pray God’s continued comfort and strength for each family. Also, at each service (8:30, 11:00 & 6:00pm) we will be celebrating Holy Communion which is a foretaste of the Feast of the Lamb in heaven yet to come. Invite someone to come with you this Sunday!

Sermon text: This Sunday, we will pause on our series through II Timothy. This Sunday is both All Saints’ Sunday and also International Day of Pray for the Persecuted Church around the world. Presently there are an estimated 327 million Christians who are suffering for their faith.
Our sermon text for this Sunday will be Psalm 137. The title is: “Suffering & Victory.” The text is challenging, but full in depth of meaning. I encourage you to read it this week and be blessed on Sunday when the tensions in it are clarified and the truths are applied. (see below)

Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.
2 Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.
3 For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How can we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget her skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, “Raze it, raze it
To its very foundation.”
8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
How blessed will be the one who repays you
With the recompense with which you have repaid us.
9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
Against the rock.

God bless you as we continue,
“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”
Pastor Carlson