Last week at the Farmer’s Market, someone came up to us and said, “I didn’t think Lutherans believed in saints.” To which I replied, “We believe in saints; we just don’t pray to them.”
We also believe in saints in two different ways. We believe we are all made holy by being baptized into the body of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. At the same time we believe there are those who model more clearly for us what it means to live out God’s grace.
St. Francis of Assisi is one of these exemplary witnesses who lived at the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th. He was born the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, but along the way he left his family and renounced his possessions taking a vow of poverty and living his life serving the poor. He drew others to join him in this life of service and hence the Order of Franciscan Friars came into being.
St. Francis feast day is this coming Sunday, October 4th. We are honoring him on Saturday with an animal blessing because along with caring for the poor, St. Francis also cared for animals saying, “not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it.”
In that statement I think we can hear St. Francis’ humble nature and clear understanding that we are all creatures of God and all called to care for the least of these among us.
Come to the blessing on Saturday between 11 am and 1 pm with or without your pets to pray like St. Francis for “our humble brethren” and to be a witness to others that we may not pray to saints but we certainly have learned to pray from them.
- Pastor Dianne