Next Sunday we remember all the saints of the church. Though, All Saints Day is the 1stof November, the Church moves the day to the Sunday following the 1st unless Sunday is the 1st!
This year in recognition of all those we remember, the carillon at St. David’s will toll from 9:00am until 9:30am.
As the years have rolled on in my life, the list of remembrances grows – family, parishioners, friends and even strangers who have impacted me through their Christian witness. Here are a few:
My father, Paul, a Lutheran pastor: He was a lover of history, Lionel trains, games and laughter. He died on All Saints Day, eleven years ago.
My Greek professor, Gene at Thiel College, Greenville, PA: He came out of retirement to teach a half dozen pre-ministerial students. Not only did he teach us but he gave us each a Greek New Testament. He showed up at my dormitory door one day because I had missed class due to sickness. He said he wanted to make sure I was all right. Gene must have been in his late eighties when he blessed us with his knowledge and Christian witness.
My neighbors, Katie and George: Both were “second parents” to me. I was always welcome to their house. Katie would have some cookies or ice cream waiting for me when I arrived. I stayed with them on the rare occasions my parents had to be away. That was ok by me. George taught me all about gardening and Katie spoiled me. We played lots of games, especially Yahtzee, Trouble and Canasta. They were active members of the Presbyterian Church and shared their faith in such a wonderful way through their acceptance of me and showering me with kindness and compassion.
Leland, a former parishioner from my first parish. A big Swede who was a teddy bear. When Leland was dying in the hospital, I went to see him. He greeted me with a big smile and grabbed my hand saying to me, “Here’s my buddy!”
There are so many others, Terry (my sister-in-law and defender) who enjoyed a great glass of wine and also shared similar tastes in beer, Janie (my dad’s cousin), Paul (my dad’s parishioner who liked to talk to me about stamp collecting); Diane, another of my dad’s parishioners. She’d sit and listen to all my struggles as an adolescent; Jim, a Roman Catholic priest who met with me weekly to discuss the lectionary; Dick, my preaching professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg; my Uncle Bill and Aunt Ruth; Steve, Angelica, John, Ted, Louis, etc…..
I continue to remember them and know that when that day comes for me, I will join with them, along with my stepson Sean and all the saints who have gone before me.
While we remember the saints of the Church Triumphant, we also celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Christ as saints of the Church Militant. We continue to fight the good fight in the name of Christ. To pour our lives so that others may come to know the love of Jesus.
Finally, one of the reasons I celebrate the gift of the Eucharist is not only knowing that Jesus comes to me in the bread and wine; offering forgiveness and salvation, but also, in the knowledge whether I am up at the altar or kneeling at the communion rail, I know that I am surrounded by the all saints who join us at the Lord’s table.
”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)
Thanks be to God!
That‘s all for now! See you in church this Sunday.