Hi Church,

I was amazed listening to the news the other morning to hear of how many Queenslanders were forgoing their opportunity of a ‘democracy sausage’ by voting earlier than the ‘election day’.

Almost 2/3rds of Queenslanders had pre-voted, meaning that if you only voted today, the lines would have probably been shorter than they have ever been before.

And as you receive this, today, it is Reformation Day, the day that is commemorated as the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the church door of the castle church in Wittenberg.

And the reason that Luther did it on this day was because tomorrow is All Saints Day, and one of the traditions of the church was that All Saints Day was the day that many people came from all over the countryside to commemorate those Saints who had gone before us, and the Prince at the time had an enviable set of ‘relics’ that he put on display for people to see – so Luther knew that he was going to have an audience.

One of the reformers joked at the time that Saint Peter must have had a torso the size of an elephant because 40 different churches or persons claimed to have one of his ‘ribs’. 

But there was a thought that if we prayed for the Saints (both the well known ones as well as Aunt Sally or Uncle Joe) then we would help lower the amount of time in purgatory.

While we now have a completely different understanding of being saved by grace through faith (and not through any works – such as praying to the saints), All Saints Day continues to be celebrated, not just as a remembrance of those who have gone before us, but also a celebration of the saints who are alive today, you and me, all who have faith in Jesus Christ as we await for His return.

Many countries around the world have different traditions that help celebrate All Saints Day, including Allerheiligenstriezel in Austria and Germany, Pangangaluwa in the Philippines, and Pao-por-Deus in Portugal. These are bread/cakes that are distributed to people who go around singing and saying prayers ‘for the souls of the givers and their friends’.

Probably the favoured tradition in Australia for All Saints Day is to light a candle in memory of a loved one. So I encourage you to do that today, and as we remember those who have gone before us onto heaven, may their lives of faith encourage and inspire us to live our lives to the glory of God alone.

In His service,
Pastor Ben

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