On the September long weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my husband as vacancy pastor in Good Shepherd, Kenora, Ontario. I try to attend services in Kenora a couple times during the year. The people have become an extended family. We join in their celebrations and comfort them in their trials as they also comfort us in our trials and temptations.
The two-hour drive lets me marvel at God’s magnificent creation found in the rocks and trees. I indulge my passion for reading which I don’t get enough of. The time also just lets me contemplate. Today, since we were going to Kenora, my thoughts went to the recent loss of two of God’s faithful servants this past year. They were husband and wife, pillars of the congregation: the husband leading worship services on alternate Sundays, his wife the chief cook and bottle washer, preparing potluck meals for the whole congregation, calling on shut-ins, and both picking up shut-ins for worship service. It will seem very empty without their presence at the worship service.
Pastor titled his sermon “Dare to Be a Disciple!” based on Matthew 16: 21-26 in which Jesus tells His disciples the cost of following Him. Vs. 24-26: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it: but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” He retold this:
There’s a story told about a missionary who came to a remote village proclaiming the life of Jesus. After he talked for a while, someone there said, “Oh, yes, we knew him; he used to live here.” Surprised the missionary tried to explain that Jesus lived centuries ago in another land. The natives insisted that they had seen him. “He lived in this village. We knew him.” Then one of the natives led the missionary to the village cemetery and showed him the grave of a medical missionary who lived there years before, served the village, and then died there.
This made me recall this faithful couple who showed many in their congregation and community the life of Jesus. As the members of Good Shepherd came together around the Lord’s Supper, we remembered those who have received the reward won for them by Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection from the dead unto life eternal and returning to His heavenly kingdom.
On All Saints Day, and every day, may we remember all those who “Dared to Be a Disciple!”
Annette Borchardt – VP Member Development
Serving in His Strength is a blog prepared by the Member Development Committee of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League – Canada.