By Barb Mazarakos
“Saints” are not something that many would associate with the Lutheran church in the same way that we do with our Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. We don’t elevate them to a higher “position”, or offer prayers to them as intercessors to God. As Lutherans we are taught that we worship and pray to our one true God. Yet every year we celebrate All “Saints” Day. Has anyone else ever found that confusing?
Perhaps if we think of All Saints Day by another name that it is commonly known, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, it will make a bit more sense. “Saints” are actually all true believers, living or dead, who believe that they are atoned by the blood of Christ. Now some of these saints may be more remembered for the specific work they have done or the stance they took on behalf of their faith and are therefore granted that special title that we know them by. But others are lesser known, and are revered for the blessings they have brought to the lives of those around them just the same. It is why, when a believer dies, we may refer to them as “Sainted”. They don’t carry an official designation, but they lived and died knowing their salvation was sealed on the cross and being an example of the love of Christ while here on earth.
This year as in others, we will remember those who have gone before. Perhaps you will be thinking of someone who held your hand as a small child and first taught you to say your prayers and read you stories from their lap each Christmas. Maybe it’s the childhood friend who helped you discover your love for music that you wish had lived closer so that you could spend some time with them before they passed on. For many of us, it may be the childhood teacher, pastor, and mentor who encouraged us to grow in our faith. All a part of the cloud of witnesses, cheering us on to grow in our faith and spread the Good News. All of them saints who have gone before us, but who first set us examples of faith, hope and love.
As we remember those who have passed on, I think of the second verse of the hymn, For all the Saints, written by William Walsham How:
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
That faith? That’s what All Saints Day is truly about. And it is definitely worth remembering.
Honoring her cousin Sharon’s memory, CLC member Sandie Falco is collecting desperately needed school supplies. These supplies will be distributed first to the children of unemployed and underemployed members and friends of the Christ Lutheran congregation; any additional supplies will be divided between the Orland Township and Sanctuary Lutheran Church (Manhattan). Items can be deposited in the designated box in the narthex through Sunday, August 6. Contact Sandie at 708-403-5999 if you have any questions. A BIG THANK YOU to the OWLS for their generous donation for school supplies. What a great way to start off our collection! Needed items include plain backpacks, notebooks, 3-prong folders, pens, pencils, paper, glue sticks, erasers. If you prefer, checks can be written to Christ Lutheran Church earmarked “school supplies”, and we will do the shopping for you. Please do not write checks to “Sharon’s Angels.” If your children or the children of someone you know are in need of a backpack filled with school supplies, contact the Church Office at 708-349-0431.
By Barb Mazarakos
By Ray Delcourt
Legend tells the story: A boy is on the beach tossing Starfish back in to the ocean one at a time. There are thousands of them on this beach. The young boy just keeps picking one up and heaving it into the watery abyss. An old man from the village harkens him and yells out, “BOY, stop throwing those Starfish into the ocean. You are wasting your time! There are too many…you can’t make a difference!”
The young boy looked at him with a crooked smile, nodded, knelt down and selected the biggest Starfish he could find and catapulted it into the brine! He then briskly turned back to the craggy old man, and said, “I just made a difference there.”
Go forth and make a difference. Do so with the wonderful abilities and gifts that God has given each of us. Do so in His name and TELL people it’s in His name. A recent study showed that just over half of people of faith “Share their Faith” with others. Of those just 7% do so on a regular basis.
Put your faith into action and find a way to let people know that you are part of Christ Lutheran Church. It is our job as followers of Christ. There are many Starfish left out there, so take off your shoes, feel the sand and start throwing! Don’t be surprised if you see another set of footprints in the sand.
Voters Meetings: Why Do We Need Them?
By Peter Schrank
Individual LCMS Churches are led by their members, not by a larger diocese or administrative body. We do not have Bishops and Archbishops to oversee the administration of church matters. What this means is that Lutheran Churches are required to have essential semiannual voters meetings. Your elected Church Council members have monthly meetings where group leaders (Elders, Trustees, Education, Youth, Stewardship, Evangelism, Cemetery and First Fruits representatives) direct and discuss church matters. All confirmed members of CELC are asked to attend these semiannual meetings with one meeting in June and one in December each year. This is sometime called taking care of the “business” of the church. Church is not run like a business even though it uses business type functions: budgeting, maintenance, life/safety concerns, among others. Our business or purpose is to send the message of Jesus Christ Risen to all who attend.
So what happens at these meetings and why are they important? These meetings provide clarity, transparency, and two way communication between leadership (both Called and elected) and the membership. Meetings allow all of the church to gather and discuss what direction we want to take: Should we spend money on new lights? Should we call a new pastor? What are the statistical trends in the church? Who should we elect to lead the church? What is our mission and ministry direction? The goal is to get everyone involved in the process and not to let a few direct all of the activities. Members have the authority to change the church constitution, amend the by-laws and elect elders and council members. These activities determine what kind of church CELC is. Many times members get upset about what is happening in the church and the actions leadership takes, so they stop coming to church or look for another church to attend. We desire to make Christ Lutheran Orland Park be the kind of church where all are welcome and all feel involved.
It is true that if there is conflict or controversy in the church attendance at the semiannual meeting increases, and if members think things are going well very few members attend. This really should not be the case because we all have an opinion about what Christ Lutheran should be.
Please stay informed, involved and engaged in this very important process call the “Voters Meeting”. The next one will be held on Sunday, June 5, following the 10AM service (approximately 11:15AM). We look forward to seeing you then!