XIR86563 St. Francis of Assisi (c.1182-1220) 1642 (oil on canvas) by Ribera, Jusepe de (lo Spagnoletto) (c.1590-1652); 200×162 cm; Monasterio de El Escorial, Spain; Giraudon; Italian, out of copyright

Today, October 4, is the Church’s observance and celebration of St Francis of Assisi! This observance helps us see the great unity that pulls together many different studies and practices of the Christian life:

  1. Church History – The study of history helps us remember the stories about the life of Francis. It helps to know that he led a reform movement in the Western Church that helped revitalize the Church’s spiritual life.
  2. The Bible – Knowing scripture helps us to understand the significance of today. Being able to interpret scripture helps us to understand how Matthew 10:7-13 could change Francis’s life.
  3. Spirituality – Francis led reform in the monasteries and led to a revival and renewed focus on spiritual disciplines like worship, fasting, prayer, and intentional simplicity.
  4. Theology – While not written down as a system, Francis had a deep theological awareness of Creation and his place within it. The implications of being part of Creation means that all other parts are siblings and all things were born from the will of God.
  5. Church music – Francis wrote the words to the Canticle of the Sun (also known as Canticle of the Creatures). Because these words resonate through the ages, we therefore still sing them in hymns such as “All Creatures of Our God and King.”
  6. Contemporary Issues – the life and teachings of Francis inform our world today. Francis voluntarily embraced poverty and simplicity. This calls us, we who live hyper-consumptive and cluttered lives, to critically examine our behaviors. Francis had a deep love for the whole of Creation. Because of this, we Christians naturally think of our response to the present Climate and Ecological Crisis.

What this day shows us is that the Christian life is naturally interdisciplinary. We find the abundance of our life in the interplay between all of these above categories and more. Francis lived and died centuries before Lutheranism existed. In spite of this, the life of Francis helps us Lutherans to explore how we are to live in the world.

In line with the tradition of the Church, we will bless pets and animals during Sunday’s worship. This is one way we observe Francis and the teachings he gave the Church.

The interdisciplinary nature of life is fascinating. That being said, it helps us to divide the different aspects into subjects for us to dive deeper. In light of this, I invite you to complete this survey. It is when we build up our understandings our faith finds greater depth.

God continue to be with you,
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+