Through the Waters is the blog of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Christian vocation ministries. Because the ministry of Christian vocation affirms the need for all baptized Christians – including Presbyterians - to identify and claim their call to discipleship in each decision and life choice, this blog is designed to serve as a resource for youth and young adults, as well as those in ministry with them, to assist the Holy Spirit in God’s movement in this journey through the waters. Take some time to read and think about your own responses to the questions posed here. For additional resources, we suggest that you visit our website.
In our congregation’s worship service last Sunday a bell rang out at the mention of each church member who had died in the past year. While it was difficult for some who remember better days with these loved ones, it gave each of us another chance to say prayers of thanks for the faithful lives they had led.
Such is All Saints Day, November 1.
When many of us think of saints we might conjure up images of holy-looking martyrs who lived long ago and have cathedrals named after them. And while these people are thought of as saints in many traditions, our Reformed faith leads us to give thanks for the faith-filled lives of the more ordinary of God’s children. And there are many!
You may remember the old poem sometimes called “Footprints in the Sand.” In it, there are two sets of footprints in the sand that represent a person walking with God. At one point, only one set is visible. The human being assumes that this a time when God left them, while God explains that is when God carried them. My image, besides not being reflected as a poem, would, very rarely look as only two sets of footprints. Instead, there would be many sets. You may be able to join me in thinking back on very few times when it was just God and I walking that path. At almost every juncture, there was another person somewhere along the way, supporting me, lifting me up, praying, or reminding me of God’s unfathomable grace. Even in those times when loneliness has crept in the furthest, it was a saint in my own life who reminded me of God’s eternal presence.
On All Saints Day each year I take some time to a give a word of thanks to one of those saints; one of those people who serves as a model of the faith or who cheers me on toward God’s path. While the bell tolls for some of them, many still live on around me and may not yet know the difference they have made. Thank you, God, for those you place in your lives and who serve as models of your love.
For more information and history on All Saints Day, visit https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/all-saints-day/