All Saints Sunday
This first November Sunday, the Sunday nearest All Saints Day, churches across our land will hold special services to remember and honor loved ones who finished this life within the last year.
In our church, the names of members are called, their photographs shown. And then the aisles fill. As hymns are sung by the congregation, all who’ve lost loved ones—family and friends inside or outside our church walls—are invited to bring signs of remembrance, single flowers to vases waiting near the altar. As we place our flowers in vases, we whisper their names, shouting them once again in our hearts.
Poignant and lovely, it’s our collective way of remembering those deeply rooted towers of faith and strength in whose shade we’ve grown, in whose shadow we’ve stood as they shielded us from storms and the heat of life, as they nurtured us, teaching by example how to live out this life, this faith. Precious, precious memories, and a safe place for the shedding of tears.
When I think of heroes of faith beyond those mentioned in the Bible, I automatically think of people like William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Susannah and John Wesley—men and women fully surrendered to God, who stood for right and truth against the pressing tide of their time, who worked and lived sacrificially for the good of the church and of humanity.
But, through the years, I’ve been especially blessed by heroes and heroines of faith within my circle of family and friends—surely true for all of us. My grandmother and grandfather—two of the greatest influences and most powerful witnesses in my life—top that list. We buried them both sixteen years ago, and I miss them as though it were yesterday—sometimes so much it’s hard to breathe.
What better time than All Saints Sunday, appropriately these few weeks before Thanksgiving, to remember and celebrate the lives of those dear ones who’ve gone before, whose legacy continues to show us the way? What better time to renew our vows to live life with hearts and hands wide open to those around us, and to the glory of God?
Hurricane Sandy layered a bright carpet across yards and forest floors, giving us another splash of color among those leaves still clinging to rain-wet trees. Colder weather and lack of electricity during the storm inspired my husband to fire up our woodstove—cozy, and November’s first fragrance!
It’s a perfect day for hot cider. Come, let’s start our day together with a cup by the fire.
Looking forward to seeing you here, next week.
God’s blessings for you,