Dear Family of Faith at St. James,
‘Let me be an instrument of your peace, O Lord’ . . . . these are words of a beloved follower of Jesus that continue to beat in our hearts today. St. Francis of Assisi, living in the 1200’s, is attributed to this prayer of peace. He grew up as a son of a wealthy cloth merchant. Early in life he recognized the trappings of setting one’s heart on accumulating wealth, rather than on the joy and freedom found in the true riches of following his Lord. He renounced his wealth and inheritance, then devoted his life to loving and serving God; mostly demonstrating joy in following Christ, serving people who were poor by this world’s standards, and continued his commitment in caring for all creatures and all of God’s handiwork in creation with joy and gratitude. Under St. Francis’ leadership the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) was formed. The Franciscans continue to witness in our world today with humility and joy in following their Lord. October 4th is the day set apart to recall St. Francis‘ life and witness. Many share in the blessing of animals on this day, which connects us to the God of all creation.
Last week, many were encouraged by the visit from Pope Francis, a Franciscan, to the United States. He addressed Congress in D.C., spoke at the United Nations Headquarters and participated in an Interfaith Prayer Service at Ground Zero in N.Y.C., visited schools, soup kitchens and prisons along his journey, concluded his visit in Philadelphia with the World Family Conference. We can give thanks for this leader of the church in our day, seeking to bring people together for the good of others across our globe, especially in the face of much crisis and escalating violence. May he be granted the strength to continue God’s call in his life.
Speaking of Philadelphia, . . . .last weekend, 9/27, . . . the 2015 confirmation class shared their faith and life experience in the service trip to Philadelphia with the St. James congregation during worship. We heard much of service and outreach shared, both in Philadelphia and local Huntingdon service opportunities as well. Thanks to each of you for sharing your experience with us! Later this month these individuals will be asked to affirm their faith as a follower of Jesus in their confirmation on Reformation Sunday, October 25th. Our St. James congregation is invited to celebrate with them and their families. Feel free to share notes of faith with them at the reception following worship on Sunday, October 25th. Wendy, Bev and others helping are bringing the details of this reception together on behalf of the St. James family celebrating together! All are welcome! You might consider wearing something red on this celebration day!
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Phil. 4:7