If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV).
This month we’ll be observing several special Sundays
that direct our attention beyond this life. The first Sunday of the month
will be Memorial Sunday, a time in which we remember those who have died
in the year that has past. This practice began in
Germany in 1816 by Prussian Emperor Fredrick William III. The German
name for this day is Totenfest which means “Feast
of the Dead” or “Festival for the Dead”.
In recent years we’ve been observing Memorial Sunday on a Sunday near to
All Saints Day, which is observed on November 1st. All
Saints predates the Protestant Reformation, going back to Pope Boniface IV in
609. The emphasis for us Protestants is on the promise of Scripture that
to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians
The last Sunday of the church year is November 21st.
On this Sunday we naturally turn our attention to the end of time itself.
This Sunday is designated as Christ the King when we reflect on the fact that his
kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom (Revelation 11:15). Indeed, as the
author of Hebrews says, he is able to save us to the
utmost becomes he ever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). Our
eternal destiny is secure because it is grounded in his eternal life.
Finally, November 28, the last Sunday of the month, is the First
Sunday of Advent. Of course, during Advent we’re thinking of the first
coming of Christ, but we’re also anticipating the return of Christ,
being all the more certain of his final triumph as
those who live on the other side of his first appearing. Peter says of us that
“we have the prophetic word made more sure” (2 Peter
1:19 NASB) because of Christ’s first coming. Indeed, many might think it
crazy to believe there is an end of the age, a final setting
things straight, and a transformation of our immortal bodies to be like
that of Christ’s glorified bodies. These are incredible realities!
Christians believe in them because they believe in Christ and the word which
points to him.
The apostle pointed out that our hope ultimately lies
beyond this life (see verse at the top of this article). Yes, we may know
many good things in this life, but we can never know ultimate comfort and
peace. These realities are yet to come, and this month we celebrate the fact
that we’ve come to know what God has prepared for those who love him.
Autumn Blessings to You All!