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From the Pastor: October 2021

by Mark Harris on October 01, 2021

In Christ Alone

 

As soon as our calendars turn to October, most of our community’s attention turns toward feelings of autumn (praying that the temperature finally begins to drop) and starts to focus on decorating for Halloween. While those things can certainly be enjoyed and appreciated… for me this month always has a way of bringing the Reformation into view once again. For us as Lutheran Christians, our entire worldview (rightly!) centers on our Savior. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. In this year when we are especially looking to see Christ In All Things, I’ve been noticing the word “in” much more intentionally. In fact, I’m seeing it more and more in all things…

One of my favorite modern hymns begins with the word “in,” and you can see it in the title I’ve given to this article. In Christ Alone is a song filled with words of faith in God’s power, centered on the cross, and anchored in resurrection hope. We sang this hymn at my Installation two years ago; and I know Pastor Fraker loves it too—some of the lyrics are framed and embroidered on a wall in his office!

The second verse of this hymn is particularly meaningful for us at Cross in our life-focused month of October. What a powerful message our God has proclaimed by sending His own Son into this world as a tiny baby, and one who would die so that we might live… who would be scorned that we might be saved! What a gift!

 

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

 

On the first Sunday of this month, we are encouraged to return baby bottles filled with generous gifts in support of Options for Life, a local non-profit that shares in our faithful confession that life (no matter how small) is precious in God’s eyes. Here’s how they describe themselves: Options for Life is a Christ-centered organization dedicated to educating and encouraging people to choose life, to make positive sexual choices, and to bring healing to those affected by abortion.

We are delighted to serve our local community alongside this organization especially because they acknowledge that this ministry must be centered in Christ alone. They recognize this is a complex societal issue that requires a Christ-centered approach. Only Jesus can transform the human heart and provide the life-long love, care, and support each mother and child (and indeed every person) ultimately needs. If you go look at their website, these words are written on the front page: “You Are Not Alone.” Praise the Lord that in Christ, we are not alone! Jesus is always with us and with each person who needs to be in His forgiving, loving, and life-giving presence.

        —Pastor Mark Harris

 

Christ is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,

that in everything, He might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18)

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