From the Pastor’s Study – October 30th, 2020

Our church family lost a dear friend and brother in Christ on Sunday, when Glen Strouse entered into his eternal rest. I regret that I was not able to get to know Glen better before he passed away. I met him in person only a few times and occasionally conversed with him on the phone. Since Glen lived in a nursing home that stopped having visitors (because of the coronavirus) soon after I came to Reno, I wasn’t able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked.

But several people in the congregation knew Glen well, and the loss of his friendship will be felt keenly by them. For many of us, myself included, we knew Glen best through his faithful participation by Zoom in our Sunday School classes and prayer meetings. His cheerful countenance was always a delight to see. Though his time at the nursing home wasn’t easy, I don’t remember him ever complaining. Rather, he exuded a joy in Christ that so many of us in far more comfortable circumstances fail to attain.

I had the privilege to visit Glen in the hospital the day before he died. Though he was not responsive, I spoke with him, read Psalm 23 to him, and prayed with him. Perhaps the Lord used that time to strengthen his heart by grace despite Glen’s not showing any recognition of my being there with him.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). I’d rather still have Glen with us, but it was the Lord’s will to bring him to the end of his earthly pilgrimage and welcome him into his eternal rest in glory. Though we’ll miss him, Glen has departed to be with Christ, and that is “far better” (Philippians 1:23).

The “Three Amigos” from Hawthorne – John, Glen, and Vern.

Tomorrow is October 31st, the day most people think of exclusively as Halloween. But for us who cherish the memory of the work of God over 500 years ago in Europe, October 31st is Reformation Day. On that day in 1517, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther produced the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The rest, as they say, is history. The Reformers rediscovered the free grace of God in the justification and salvation of sinners, boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and returned the people of God to the simplicity and power of a faith based solely on the Scriptures. While so much of our Halloween celebration glorifies death, the message of Reformation Day is all about life – eternal life by faith (alone!) in Jesus Christ.

Finally, as with many of us my thoughts often turn to the upcoming election and all of the implications it holds for the future of our nation. Without diminishing the very real consequences of whom we choose to lead us, I am so thankful that Jesus will still be King of Kings on November 4th, and forevermore. And I am grateful that for the Christian, joy and peace do not depend on who sits in the White House or serves in Congress. “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:5).

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Johnson