This coming Sunday is All Saints Day. An opportunity to remember all Saints and Martyrs, both those well known and well-commemorated, and those who few knew about – those whose deeds are ‘known only to God’. This leads on to All Souls Day, which commemorates the faithful departed.
Both days give us an opportunity to remember those who have gone before us, guided us, given us an example and an insight into God and how to live for him.
I enjoy other peoples stories, both the famous, but even better the not famous. I love to hear what circumstances have occurred in peoples lives and how they have responded to them, how their life has led them to where they are. Others lives will have led them into places I will never go, and as such are an education. Others will have been in similar situations to me – all have something to teach us. I find other peoples stories a challenge an inspiration and a source of hope.
The stories of people of faith will also have that added dimension of sharing their experience of God – how and where they have encountered him, how that has effected their faith and how they live, what they have learned about him. As such they also give us opportunity to think, a place to be challenged and an opportunity for encouragement and hope. They can show us a much wider and deeper picture of God and living his life that we may never encounter in our own lives.
All Saints also gives me cause to pause and remember those who have been saints to me, who have shown me a different path, a bigger God, and the depth of his love. To them I am grateful and must remember to give thanks – and to seek to try and continue to pass the message along.
Story is important. Shared story builds up the bigger community.
Do I take the time to listen? Allow others the space to speak? Learn the lessons their story can add to mine? Or am I only interested in my story and how life affects me? It is much richer if we all share, learn, challenge, encourage and hope together.
3 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
3 and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
4 For though in the sight of others they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
6 like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
7 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
8 They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them forever.
9 Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,
and he watches over his elect.
The Lord Has Saved Us
6 On this mountain
the Lord All-Powerful
for all nations
a feast of the finest foods.
Choice wines and the best meats
will be served.
7 Here the Lord will strip away
the burial clothes
that cover the nations.
8 The Lord All-Powerful
will destroy the power of death
and wipe away all tears.
No longer will his people
be insulted everywhere.
The Lord has spoken!
9 At that time, people will say,
“The Lord has saved us!
We waited and hoped—
now our God is here.”