November 24, 2019
The Feast of Christ the King
On this last Sunday of the church year, we honor Christ, Who reigns as king from the cross. The effusive descriptions of Christ in the letter to the Colossians remind us of the absolutely central and vital role He rightfully claims in our life. All space and all time belong to the one who offers paradise to those who live and die with Him.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty and everlasting God, Whose will it is to restore all things to Your beloved Son, Whom You anointed priest forever and King of all Creation: Grant that all the people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united under the glorious and gentle rule of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Festivals and Commemorations this week
The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.
November 24 Justus Falckner, died 1723; Jehu Jones, died 1852; William Passavant, died 1894; pastors in North America
A native of Saxony, Falckner was the son of a Lutheran pastor and, seeing the stresses his father endured, did not plan on becoming a pastor himself, though he studied theology in Halle. Instead, he joined with his brother in the real estate business in Pennsylvania. Through this business he became acquainted with a Swedish pastor in America, and finally he decided to become ordained. He served congregations in New York and New Jersey. Not only was he the first Lutheran ordained in North America, but he published a catechism that was the first Lutheran book published on the continent.
Jones was a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Ordained by the New York Ministerium in 1832, he became the Lutheran church's first African American pastor. Upon returning to South Carolina he was arrested under a law prohibiting free blacks from reentering the state, so he was unable to join the group of Charlestonians he had been commissioned to accompany to Liberia. For nearly twenty years Jones carried out missionary work in Philadelphia in the face of many difficulties. There he led in the formation of the first African American Lutheran congregation, St. Paul's, and the construction of its church building.
William Passavant created and nurtured a new level of organized social ministry in western Pennsylvania. It was the seed of the system of social services that is now known as Lutheran Services in America. Passavant and his legacy sought to serve the poorest of the poor, providing shelter, medical, and living assistance.
November 25 Isaac Watts, hymnwriter, 1748
Isaac Watts was born in England to a nonconformist family, people who thought the Church of England had not carried its reforms far enough. As a youth, Watts complained to his father about the quality of hymnody in the metrical psalter of his day. That was the start of his hymnwriting career. He wrote about 600 hymns, many of them in a two-year period beginning when he was twenty years old. Some of Watts’s hymns are based on psalms, a nonconformist tradition, but others are not. When criticized for writing hymns not taken from scripture, he responded that if we can pray prayers that are not from scripture but written by us, then surely we can sing hymns that we have made up ourselves.
November 30 St. Andrew, Apostle
Andrew was the first of the Twelve. He is known as a fisherman who left his net to follow Jesus. As a part of his calling, he brought other people, including Simon Peter, to meet Jesus. The Byzantine church honors Andrew as its patron and points out that because he was the first of Jesus' followers, he was, in the words of John Chrysostom, "The Peter before Peter." Together with Philip, Andrew leads a number of Greeks to speak with Jesus, and it is Andrew who shows Jesus a boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Andrew is said to have died on a cross saltire, an X-shaped cross.