For All the Saints
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. - Hebrews 12:2
During the month of November, our thoughts literally turn heavenward. On November 1st, the church celebrates All Saints Day, a time when we rejoice in the hope we have as Christians that those who die in the faith still live in Christ. As the month of November continues, we start to move into a time of the church year in which we hear readings about the end of time and the return of Christ. During November our minds are indeed turned heaven-ward, but we can also look to the saints all around us right here on earth.
The scriptures say we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses in the faith (Hebrews 12). During Sunday morning worship, this is literally true. You are seated with Christians in front of you, behind you, and next to you. Consider one group of Christians in particular – our elderly members. Many of our elderly members may not physically be with us on Sunday. Many may be homebound, in a hospital, or in a care facility; but that does not mean they are any less with us in the faith of Christ. These members are truly saints whom we should desire to emulate and respect.
In the United States we live in a relatively youth-obsessed culture. We like our bodies to look and feel youthful. We generally look down on the aging process. Most of us groan when the wrinkles appear, and we moan when the aches get worse. But why should we look down on aging even with all its wrinkles and aches? Those lines and wrinkles are not signs of depleted youth. As Christians, we should see every line and wrinkle as the beauty mark of someone Christ has sustained in the faith over many years. As our bodies slow down we don’t have to grow angry that we can’t do the things we want to do. On the contrary, we can give thanks that Christ is drawing us closer to what He wants to do – give us eternal life.
We have living saints among us who emulate faithfulness to Christ on a daily basis. Our elderly members are fellow Christians who have seen life, lived through what many of us are just now going through, and have come out the other end sustained by faith in Christ. We should strive to be like these living saints. After all, as Christians, shouldn’t we want to live lives of faith right now in this world, and ones that will be celebrated for all eternity with our living Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, the author and perfecter of our faith.
The Lord be with you,