All Saints Sunday is coming up this week. People around the world are stopping to honor the Saints who have gone before us. It is on this Sunday that the church has set apart to be reminded that the church is made up of the people throughout time. It is a reminder that each and every one of our journeys of life and faith has an impact on others not only in our life but for generations to come. However, in that same moment, if we do not learn and grow into that faith, it can only take one generation to fall away from the church.
For each and every one of us, we have someone in your life tell you that faith was important. Perhaps that person sat down with you over the course of years to remind you over and over again, the meaning of God in your life, the depth of God’s love, and the unending grace that comes from God. Or perhaps you merely had someone who gave you the line, “You are going!” Whatever the situation you have had, I want you to think of that person. Think about it for a moment, for that person has had such a profound impact upon your life. I hope that you are able to think of that person.
For me, that person was my grandmother. She was a special lady to me. I had only one grandma that I knew. Both grandpas had died and the other grandma had died as well by the time that I was born. I say this because I want you to know how truly special then she was to me. My grandma was the superintendent for all the years that I went through Sunday School, and for that matter, my parents were my teacher for many. Every Sunday when I went to church, I knew precisely the pew that my grandma would sit in and I knew precisely that after church, I would get a hug from her.
However, the church was not where she truly taught me about faith. It wasn’t until I was in middle school, I was able to spend the night at her farm. During the summer, I got to go there to her farm and spend time with her. It was during this time that we would often go around and take care of the animals. Feeding the pigs, turkeys, ducks, chickens, geese, cows, and sheep. After they got food and water, we would often go to the garden. In the spring we planted, in the summer we weeded, and in the fall we harvested. After a while, we would also go in and of course, grandma had to bake some chocolate chip cookies or some kind of goodies that I got to help with. In the fall, it was always making jellies, jams, or canning something.
Every year, I would always be amazed at how much fruit, vegetables and meat my grandma had from her farm. She would have enough for herself and all four of the families that were in my extended family. She was able to share all that had been given to her so that we may have food, enjoy her cooking, baking and work. Yet still the greatest gift that she had shared with me was something that could not be eaten, could not be consumed but I could share it over and over again. Each time I do, it reminds me of what she has taught me.
This All Saints Sunday, as we gather, may you be reminded of the saints who have gone before you. Those who have given and shared so that you may have the life that you have today. Yet, I also want to challenge you to consider, what have you given to others that they may have faith, love, and hope for the future. On this All Saints Sunday may we be reminded that we are the church of the past, the church of now but above all we are a church filled with a future because of the gifts that God has given to us. Amen.