From Our Pastor

All Saints' Sunday

Posted 2 November, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

"I believe in the communion of saints..."

Those words are especially true for us Sunday. We celebrate All Saints' Day on Sunday, remembering and giving thanks to God for those through whom God has blessed us. I believe this celebration of All Saints' Day takes on even greater significance as we gather at the table and share in the Lord's Supper. I say this because I know, gathered at table with us and receiving with us the body and blood of Christ, are the saints of God.

As we remember, at the table, the extravagant grace of God, we speak of such grace by way of scripture on Sunday. We share from the gospel of Luke, chapter 15. We refer to this scripture as the story of the Prodigal Son. Really, the story is more about the extravagant father. As the word is proclaimed, we celebrate the extravagant goodness of God, goodness we continue to know through God's saints.

We speak to the ministry of stewardship in these weeks. So I hope as we speak of the extravagant grace of God, we are moved to be gracious in our giving to God and the ministries he entrusts to us. Our giving is a witness; I pray it is a witness to a God who gives with great joy and generosity.

I am excited about creating an Advent Devotional to be a part of our Advent journey this year. I hope you are contributing to this journal so that others may be blessed by the memories you share, just as you are blessed by the memories of others. As we prepare for the Advent season, remember as well the opportunity to share the gift of hospitality during the Christmas parade on November 18th. The hospitality team of First UMC will be handing out hot chocolate; you are invited to help with this ministry.

I also invite you to take time to take part in our prayer walk next Wednesday. We will walk down Church Street to the offices of the Southside Survivor Response Center. This Center provides crisis intervention, advocacy, safety services, and education to help people affected by domestic violence. This Center, as a neighbor of First UMC, needs our prayers and blessing for the good they do in this community and beyond. Come share in this time of prayer.

The Martinsville Community Care Collaborative takes place at First UMC on Saturday. There is still time to help - volunteers are needed to help clients find their way from one service to another. I am grateful and excited for First UMC to host this ministry. Thank you for your efforts and prayers in support of this outreach to those who have need in this community.