Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
~ Matthew 5:4
Today is "All Saints Day." A day when we remember those who have gone before us, and who have made the Kingdom of God a reality.
For me, today is often focused on those who have died, that loved me unconditionally, and are those that I hope to keep their memory alive. Even if that means they remain only within my heart.
The church my grandfather served as it's pastor in Indiana, is a place for me where a day like today would provide for not just the memory, but so much more. The church has changed a lot since these photos. Additions to the building have been made, and the old stove in the sanctuary that my grandfather would fire up early on Sunday morning has been replaced by modern conveniences.
In those days, my father along with with four brothers, were just young children. My grandmother would manage to get them ready before leaving the house, then she and my grandfather would get into the car and begin the drive to where the church was located, while she finished getting herself ready.
I can't imagine the chaos that must have occurred on some of those Sundays. The boys would have often practiced a song during the week, and my grandmother would then serve as their director.
While they are all entering what we would consider the "golden years" of life, they still remember those songs, and on special occasions will join their voices together and remind us of those times, now long ago.
Among the photos I look over from those days, I see my grandparents and others who have become part of the greater cloud of witnesses that we remember on this day of saints.
Perhaps saints are sinners that found Jesus one Sunday through the words spoken by a pastor. Perhaps a saint was born because they loved others and lived their life helping to make the lives of others better.
On this day designated to remember the dead, and to acknowledge the great cloud of witnesses that encircle us all, I am acutely aware that the Kingdom of God includes us all as saints. For me there is a spark of the Divine within each of us that separates us from all of creation.
I have often wondered what it is about my life that will be remembered when I die and join those in that cloud. I think all of us hope that eternity also means that a part of us will continue on here when we do die. For myself, I'm unsure that I will ever see myself as a saint, but I do hope that the life that I live will make a difference in the life of someone else, because that is ultimately what a saint is to me.
Remember and give thanks for all those saints who have made a difference in your life while we all remain "In God's grip!"
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.