Reflecting on the very busy season our Church has had these past months
regarding loved members of our faith family going home to be with the Lord - I am reminded that November brings All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering. The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith.
Within the mainline protestant denominations, we use the term “saint” in much the same way as it was used in the New Testament to describe the faithful. We talk about the “communion of saints” to describe all the faithful who have gone before us who now rest in God, together with all the living who walk in faith. So, this month as we celebrate the saints, we give thanks for all the faithful: those living, and those who have gone before us.
This day, I give thanks and praise to God for the cloud of witnesses who gather to worship God and to love one another in this church I serve. I give thanks for all the glorious saints of Good Shepherd who have nourished, challenged and helped me to grow in Christ.
This day, I encourage each and every one of you, to remember and rejoice, as you give thanks to God for the great cloud of witnesses who have been a blessing to you; who have revealed God’s love to you; who have taught you God’s holy Word of truth; who have loved you, nourished you, challenged you and inspired you to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and to love your neighbors as you love yourself.
As you read this article, All Saints’ Day is in the rear view mirror – but don’t let go of it yet. Let this question marinate your day, today: Who are the saints in your life? Think about the saints who revealed God’s love to you. Remember and rejoice, for by their love, they taught you God’s Word, and taught you to celebrate God’s grace. Remember and rejoice in the saints of God, who are responsible for having passed the gifts of faith on to each of us. Saints who you may never read about in the church history books, but saints who by their life and witness managed to reveal a measure of God’s amazing grace to the world. These saints of God who are so dear to us and so precious to God are just ordinary folks. As they sought to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind - they ended up touching our lives in ways that changed us and had a profound effect on who we are today!
Lastly, today is also a day for looking around us and discovering our own place in the communion of the saints. Take just a moment today to think about how people will remember and give thanks for your sainthood. Whose faith have you nourished? Whose faith will you nourish? What role are you prepared to play in the Communion of Saints?