All Saints' Day

posted Nov 1, 2019, 3:49 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you, beloved one of God!

Today is All Saints’ Day. On this holiday in the liturgical year we remember our beloved ones who have gone on to be in the eternal presence of God. In our tradition we call them “the great cloud of witnesses” — the ones who continue to encourage us on in our faith. How joyous they must be, as they are basking continuously in the light of God, constantly singing this praise: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen’ (Revelation 7.12)! And yet, as joyful as they are, we mourn the fact they are no longer with us here on earth. We miss them; their absence is a very deep presence, an ache.

A while back a colleague of mine asked, “Who is your favorite saint?” Or rather, “What saint has influenced you the most?” I immediately thought of my grandparents, and the hospitality I felt every time I entered their houses. I remembered their unconditional love for me, and the joy I experienced being in their presence. I recalled all of the life lessons they taught me, and how those lessons have shaped me into the person I am today. They are my saints, pure and simple, and I would love to be able to spend just one more day with them.

But the question my friend posed got me to thinking as to who are our current and living saints. And I couldn’t help but wonder, why do we wait for a person to be gone to acknowledge them as a formative force in our lives? I’m not saying we shouldn’t remember and hold dear the saints that are no longer with us; but rather, why don’t we recognize the saints that walk amongst us, and see them for who they are in the here and now? 

Assuredly, everyone we encounter is a person made in the image of God. But, how can we acknowledge that in the small interactions we have through the day? Maybe as we start to seek out our living saints, and not just look to the past for our saints, perhaps the reign of God will begin to take a firmer shape and and the kingdom will come. The kingdom: a place where this is no more hunger, thirst, drought, sorrow, pain, or death. A world that is filled with people from every tribe and nation living in peace, singing praises to God, and the light of God’s love is so brilliant we have no need of sun or moon.

Come this Sunday at 10:30 AM as we remember our saints, especially the ones we lost this year, and look for the kingdom of God to come on earth. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will sing the anthem, “Holy, Holy, Holy” with Dan Pannebaker as our worship leader. I will be preaching from Isaiah 25.6-9 and Ephesians 1.11-23 and my sermon title is Rise Up, O Saints of God! We will be joined by our saints and lifted up to heaven at God’s wide open table of grace with the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. And when we do, we will claim that the table is where God intends us to be nourished, and when Christ makes all things new. The table is for all the saints — past and present — no matter who we are, what we’ve done, where we’ve been, or where we’re going. The table is for all God’s beloved. Afterwards, we will gather around another table in the Education Building for our First Sunday Brunch. A free will offering will be taken to support the ministries of God’s church.

Let us look for saints in our world now. I’m praying we expect to see the face of God in our ordinary day-to-day routine as a way to be inspired and challenged to live out the Greatest Commandment as given to us by our rabbi, our greatest saint, our friend and savior, Jesus. See you Sunday!

In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish

Please note: As the winter months are upon us, we are collecting coats, jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, hoodies, gloves, and winter hats for Pastor Steve Brigham in order to help those in Town Square who are homeless keep warm in these cold days. Please bring any of these items to church this Sunday, and any following Sunday, or during the week. Thank you for your ministry of care!