BY REV. DR. MARTIN LUCIN - SPIRIT LAKE GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Thirty-seven years ago on Veterans Day, my daughter, our first, was born in a Southern California hospital with a pediatrician that I did not care for attending the delivery. I don’t remember anymore what it was that I did not like about this doctor. But it was very important to me in 1980 for my daughter to identify with women in professional roles from the beginning of her life and, since this pediatrician was a woman, we continued to bring my daughter to see her.
Identity is a tricky thing isn’t it? We spend our lives trying to answer the question: “Who am I?” We sense that if we can answer that one question, then our path in life will become significantly clearer.
Because, when we know who we are, we have a better idea of what our values and priorities should be. We have a clearer picture of how we should invest our time and strength. This past Sunday, All Saint’s Sunday, makes it possible for you to know your true identity!
1 John 3:1-3 was written by the apostle John, a man who was once a member of Jesus’ inner circle.
He is an old man as he writes and he knows he doesn’t have much longer to share Jesus’ message. The young churches throughout Asia and the Middle East are struggling to define what it means to be Christ-followers.
Many of the newest believers never knew Jesus in the flesh; they came to faith after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They are easily led astray by false teachings. Some theologians call the book of 1 John a book of “tough love” because John wants so desperately for these new congregations to understand what it means to be a Christ-follower and how to live out that identity in a hostile world.
All Saint’s Sunday is a day on which we traditionally celebrate the lives of all those godly Christians who have influenced us or influenced the church. We become saints at the moment of our baptism: our sainthood isn’t based on what we do, it is based on what the Holy Spirit accomplishes in us and through us. It is all about our new identity and it is instantaneous – but it takes a lifetime to live up to.
Recently, my grandson, who turned three at the end of summer, was up from Iowa City visiting for the week and we were able to take him on a family outing for some lunch. To this meal I invited an 11th-grade student that I know to be a remarkable Christ-follower, strong in her faith, who has already in her young life demonstrated a knack for living as a servant leader in a world that is not always supportive. I want my grandson to begin to identify with this saintly lifestyle very early in his own life and I don’t just want him to hear about it second- or third-hand, either. I want him to be able to see it in other young people who are just a little older than he is and who are sitting right across the table from him, so that he too, can start right away to reflect God’s glory more and more each day.