Today marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. In all seriousness, I thank God for the influence of this great and good man, an influence that has included blessing me and my household far beyond anything I can calculate. Calvin made sure that he was buried in an unmarked grave because he would have detested any kind of unseemly praise directed at him after he was gone. And so we should of course honor that. At the same time, the God Calvin wholeheartedly served does not permit us to be ingrates either. “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
So those of you who were thinking ahead last week saved some of your best fireworks for this evening’s celebration, and you still have time to get some really fine chocolates to give to all the kids this evening. And for our Christian brethren who are not of our persuasion, if you are looking at the festive merrymaking of your Calvinist friends with a spiritual grimace of some kind, you may console yourelf with this. It had to happen.