MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: All Saints Day

By Frank Drenner
Special to the Herald Democrat

November 1 is recognized as All Saints Day, an observance to honor the many saints throughout the Church’s history who do not have a separate day to remember their individual memory.

All Saints is a day to recognize the unity Christians have in the Body of Christ. Even where there have been differences of dogma or theology we have a common love for Jesus, plus a common vision of the world and our ultimate future. 1 John speaks of the family of believers. It is because of God's love that we are all considered sisters and brothers. We are, all of us, God's children. Revelation points to a heavenly celebration where believers of all backgrounds and nations, sexual orientations, church memberships, Republicans and Democrats, modern or traditional worshipers-- all of the faithful are gathered together, worshiping the Lord in the presence of the Lamb. All of these saints have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, and now clothed in dazzling white they sing praises to the One who raised Christ from the dead. Such a vision should inspire all of us to lay aside our differences, our prejudices, and our self-righteousness. The vision affirms the complete absence of need: no one is hungry, no one is thirsty, the sun doesn't scorch them. They each receive life-giving water from the Good Shepherd. And God wipes away every tear from their eyes.

All Saints Sunday is this week, November 7. It is a day for all of us to be reminded what we believe as Christians-- that faith is more powerful than death. In the congregation I serve, we read names of church members who died in the previous twelve months, plus immediate family of the congregation. This year, All Saints is different at my congregation; last Sunday we posted 500 white flags on the church property, a memorial to the more than 500 Grayson County residents who died from Covid-19. The memorial installation will remain for a few weeks; everyone is invited to stop by and reflect. Names of Grayson County residents who died of Covid-19 may be written on the flags. The church is located at 2800 Canyon Creek Drive in Sherman.

Meister Eckhart lived in the 14th century. He said, "Do not think that saintliness comes from occupation; it depends rather on what one is. The kind of work we do does not make us holy; we make it holy." Eckhart, the names we read in the congregation I serve, and thousands of others around the world, are individual lives joined in that heavenly chorus, and we honor the memory of every one. On this All Saints Sunday, let us all draw together with other believers in Christ, not just to anticipate our place among the glorious company of the saints of light. We recognize the vision of Christ for our ministry as believers, that we may work to obtain it in this life: that no one would know hunger or thirst or any other burden that limits peace and hope for God's people.

A PRAYER MEDITATION FOR ALL SAINTS DAY

We give you thanks, O God,

for all the saints who ever worshiped you

Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,

Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses

Where your name was lifted and adored.

We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:

Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,

Strong hands and those gnarled with age Holy hands

Used as wave offerings across the land.

We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;

Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,

Head ragged or aproned, Blue-collared or three-piece-suited

They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, for our children to come.

Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.

Bless the memories of your saints, God.

May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love.

Frank Drenner

Frank Drenner was ordained in 1998 and has served as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Sherman since July 2016. He is married to Christy, and together they have three sons. Find more from Drenner at http://www.pastorfrankdrenner.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.