Happy All Hallows Eve!

As costumes were donned yesterday for a Sunday School hour trick or treating and as they are donned again tonight for neighborhood walks, we are reminded of our childhoods and the fun and joy of the festivities.

And, as November 1 is tomorrow and we will celebrate All Saints’ Day this Sunday, November 6, we are reminded of all those who have gone before us.

As I have recently sat in on a few of the visioning sessions taking notes, I have been struck again and again by the stories of fellow members who have and are living out their faith in beautiful ways. One of the questions asks:  If First Presbyterian was a person, real or fictional, who would they be and why?  It has been amazing to hear your responses and, while I walk down the hallway of elders most days, your stories have brought to life the portraits there – from dedicated Sunday School teachers to those who, in their quiet ways, served the congregation and community.

I think of those who have and continue to shape and mold me and, as Henri Nouwen writes, who made “the living Christ visible to us in a special way.” I think of Cornelia, who took a break from knitting a prayer shawl and sat me between her knees, teaching me to knit, one slow stitch at a time. I think of Anne and Dan who watched us when we were little, acting as additional grandparents. I think of my grandmothers, who had deep faith, facing hardships with prayer and a continual search to help others. And, I think of the numerous women and men who have shared their faith and their gifts with the church, together making up the great tapestry we call the Body of Christ. 

As we celebrate All Hallows Eve today, as we recognize All Saints Day tomorrow, and as we celebrate on Sunday with the reading of the Necrology, I invite you to think of those who shaped and molded you. We celebrate that those listed in the Necrology are not only examples for us but are shining lights as they are now in God’s Presence. For those in our congregation or community or others in the great communion of saints, we give thanks.

Just as they are shining lights now, we look to the day when we, like John in Revelation 7, might see the “great crowd that no one could number.  They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb … They cried out with a loud voice: ‘Victory belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’  All the angels stood in a circle around the throne, and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and always. Amen.’ ”