A Few Words From Pastor Brian

Reverend Brian Handrich


Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.


- James 5:7-8

As I write this it's 55 degrees and cloudy outside. Fall has definitely arrived, but there's no sign of frost – we're 6 days overdue as of this writing. Patience is far down on the list of virtues I possess and I can hardly wait until the frost comes. Why? Because that's when I can finish harvesting. I popped in 60 sweet potato slips back in early May and they've been going great all through the hot, wet, summer, but I have no idea what they look like below ground. I have to wait until frost knocks out the vines and I can dig the tubers and see if I have a harvest or if they were “all show and no go.” I also have shell beans, cabbages, cauliflower, carrots, and a few pumpkins waiting to be harvested. It's so hard to just sit here and wait for an event most people dread (after frost comes snow and ice). The first killing frost signals the end of the growing season and the start of the next season of activity.

I often wonder if we, as 21st Century Christians and as a congregation, have the patience that our Lord's brother (½ brother?) had. Are we in “the winter of our discontent”? Are we waiting for the frost to come, yet fearing it at the same time? Are we ready for the coming of the Lord?

As we enter November our worship foci deal with the end times, final judgment, and Christ's return in glory, Often the image or metaphor used for this is the harvest and the big celebration in November is the harvest festival known as Thanksgiving. Are you ready for a harvest (or to be harvested)? As we come to these end times, it's good for us to look at our own endings. What will we leave behind? What is our legacy? Are my “crops” ready?

Luther tells us to “Think on death, and think on it often.” We tend to run from our own mortality, but it is an unavoidable fact – the frost will come and our season of earthly life will end. The harvest then comes and we see what is left behind in the field of our lives. Have you thought about what you'd like your legacy to be? What are the things you want to pass on to your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? Few are remembered for the house they bought, they tend to remember what happened with family and friends at that location. Few leave instructions to make sure their car is taken care of after they're gone, though the memory of where that car went and whom it carried are often some of the best. A closet full of clothes and plasma tv's are not much of a legacy to leave behind. What matters most is our relationship to the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. The stories of what God has done in our lives and how we have seen His power at work in each of our lives are the legacy that endures.

These are “the stories really matter”. Many of us may not think our story matters, but it does. Each of us was created uniquely, each of us has our own story, God has touched each of us in a slightly different way. These are the stories of the saints of God – not holy people of a by-gone era, but God's people here and now. So, what is your story? What are the tales you want told by your children and grandchildren as they think about you? On Saturday, Dec. 1, President Steinbronn will be returning to Redeemer to lead us in a workshop to help us tell our story. In the lessons and songs of November, we'll be looking at what our legacy can be to the generations who follow us. As we celebrate the “harvest home”, we give thanks and ponder anew the rich harvest of blessings we enjoy in this life and how we pass that on to the next generation. A great harvest awaits, the harvest of everlasting righteousness when Jesus returns or calls us home. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Peace in Christ,

© 2018 Redeemer Lutheran Church, Newton, New Jersey