For All the Saints

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before for us. (Heb 12:1, NRSV)

I am grateful to be a member of a liturgical church, with its’ liturgical calendar that marks the seasons and feasts of the church. Today we remember the saints, those glorious giants of the faith in our lives who have gone on to their heavenly home. Individuals whose lives provided glimpses of God and God’s grace in our lives. Today I especially remember those who have been instrumental in my faith growth, and my heart fills with a special gratitude when I remember the gifts that they bestowed upon me.

Linda who walked through the dark days of my divorce with me, who carried my hope in trust for me, who always reminded me that I was God’s beloved, who encouraged me to hang in there and trust that it would get easier, who was only as far away as a phone call and who listened, really listened and cared, really cared. Linda – God with skin and bones on. Linda who had walked my path and was willing to serve as a guide on my painful journey. Linda who chose to share her deep, beautiful faith with me. Linda who claimed to be sharing only what she had first been given and whose only request of me was that I do the same once I was able.

Marshall who walked with me as I struggled with my sense of call. Marshall who was willing to listen as I moved from denial (surely not me, Lord, I must be getting my signals mixed up somehow here). Marshall who was willing to listen as I moved to allowing myself to be slightly open to the possibility of a call (okay, I’ll pray about it and I’ll try to be open – while secretly hoping that I was not being called). Marshall who listened as I slowly came to see that I was being called and the awesome wonder that flooded my heart at this revelation. Marshall who was able to trust the process and allow me to move at my pace (very, very slow!), thereby enabling me to begin to trust the process and to continue to stumble along the path set before me. Marshall who offered only gentle encouragement with nary an ‘I told you so’ when I veered off of the path and like Jonah headed headlong for Tarshish and the belly of the whale. Marshall who was willing to share honestly his call and his resulting journey. Marshall a gentle, giant of the faith.

Blessings Linda, my spiritual mother! Blessings Marshall, my spiritual father! Thank you both for standing with me in the midst of the storms of my life and holding my hand. Thanks for showing me God’s love and allowing me to see myself in your eyes as the beloved of God.

Oh, how I miss your physical presence in this world – your smiles, your hugs, your laughter. Oh, how I remember you both as we kneel at the communion rail this morning and join together in the communion of all the saints! Greetings!

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you, and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (BCP, pg 245)

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