It is a crisp autumn day as I sit down to write this article. Each season of the year brings with it a certain amount of change and an anticipation of what is to come.
The month of November begins with the celebration of All Saints Day (November 1st), which is a remembrance of all the saints (all who followed Jesus) who have come before us on this walk of faith. It is fitting, then, that November is the month when we are celebrating over 50 years of faithful ministry of this congregation. Tamara, our office administrator, is at work creating a slide show for that day from the various scrapbooks and loose photos stored here at the church. As we look through our scrapbooks, and search our memories, who would you like to see join us in worship on November 12th for this celebration of our congregation’s history? If you have not already done so, extend an invitation and let them know that you’d love to see them here for our celebration.
As we think of these everyday Edmonds saints, I am reminded of my colleague, Rev. Dennis Hughes, and his passionate encouragement to have Presbyterians celebrate All Saints Day. His widow, Ann, shared with me an unpublished book chapter on this subject that he finished prior to his death. I look forward to sharing the full text with you once it is published. Two ideas shine through in his writing. The first is a call to a biblical understanding of saints, rooted in our understanding of the sacraments. We are all part of the “communion of saints,” the group of believers, past present, and future, who have followed (or will follow) Jesus. Our observance of All Saints Day is therefore a celebration of the church from the first Christian believers through the end of time. A second idea that struck me is his call to uphold and celebrate the Christian role models that have come before us. Every generation needs heroes and heroines. The Christian faith has these in abundance – faithful people who have lived their lives in service to God, in both great and small ways. We see that in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, where Paul tells him that it is because of his mother’s and grandmother’s faith that Timothy heard the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. And we see that in our study of the history of the church from Jesus’ time until now. How many of these saints can you name? I have a series of read-aloud books on my shelves at home that tell the stories of kings, queens, explorers, heroes, and early saints of the church. In each volume they describe the lives of faithful men and women. The first book in the series is: “Early Saints of God (Family Read-Aloud Collection) (Vol 1)” by Bob Hartman. I think they are great reading for adults, too. We all need Christian role-models, saints, whose lives illumine our own.
As we move into this season of remembrance and thanksgiving, I wonder, who are the saints in your life who shared with you the good news? Who have you shared the good news with? And isn’t it a joy to know that the good news that began with the first disciples continues today and even beyond our earthly lives into the future!