I have written a series of blogs of late that have been heavy with theology, vision and challenges. I have done so under the leading of the Holy Spirit and love the fact that folks are talking and praying about them! You honor me by reading my musings and I am so blessed to be your pastor!! Please keep up the praying and discussing, dreaming and discerning and please thank God with me for the very exciting things He is doing in our midst!
With that said, I want to write a different kind of blog today. As you well know, October 31st is All Hallowed Eve, the eve of All Saints Day, November 1st. While our culture celebrates darkness, death and fear in its version of Halloween, The Church celebrates the Light and Life and Victory of Jesus Christ as He opens eternity for every soul His blood has made hallowed (holy). Each year at this time, we pause to thank God for the impact of the Saints who have shaped our lives, we praise God for welcoming them into His heavenly home, and we join with the great Cloud of Witnesses in worshipping the Lord in the beauty of His Holiness!!
All Saints Day gives us a place of perspective. Without the cloud (crowd) of already-home saints around us cheering us on to the finish and imploring us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,” where would we be? While earth bound, had these hallowed souls not taught our Sunday School classes, shared with us their faith stories, called us to grow in the Lord, fed us meals and kissed our boo boos, we may well not be the people of faith we are today. But they did love us, lead us, correct us, feed us, sheltered us, and call us to a better way of living. They were saints, and they are saints. By the Blood of the Son of God they are hallowed saints!
It’s been a hard week for me as a pastor. Two amazing saints went home this week—Avalon Hunter, and Thelma Stockton. I’ve had the incredible (yet painful) privilege and honor of serving at the funerals of eight other saints from this church family thus far this year. I have said goodbye to almost 150 saintly church members since becoming pastor here in 2001. It is always bittersweet. By God’s grace I have been invited into the most beautiful and precious lives—at some of the most painful and difficult times. I’ve been invited into hospital rooms, nursing homes, and into the final breaths of some of the most magnificent, beautiful, Godly, loving, giving souls that have ever graced this planet. I am forever in their debt, and a better man and father and husband and follower of Jesus because of their impact on my life…
Please join me in remembering the Saints from our church family, and all the Saints whom God has used to bring you into His family, this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Take a few minutes to Thank God for the people who spoke and prayed and cried and pleaded the love of Jesus into your life. And may all of us, by God’s grace, be like them to all God has entrusted to our care. May we be used of the Lord as hallowed vessels in sharing the Good News in a broken and dying world!!!