Being raised Catholic, All Saints Day has always been part of my faith experience. I guess that is why, when I was appointed to East Texas, I couldn’t understand why that United Methodist Church didn’t observe the Sunday in a special manner. And when I began to plan their first All Saints Service, I was surprised by the questions I was asked. Many people couldn’t figure out what those saints had to do with them or with their loved ones who had passed away during the year. I didn’t have a good answer then, but I think I do now.
In spite of the fact that many of the saints experienced gruesome deaths (St. Lucy had her eyeballs plucked out) and others lived hyper-religious lives (St. Thérèse of Lisieux refused to say a harsh word to anyone), we do have a lot in common with them. You see, if you read the complete stories of the lives of these saints, and rather than focusing on their deaths or seemingly bizarre ways they lived their lives, we might meet people who can teach us about being who we are. Each saint lived out his or her call to follow God in their own way, tailored around their personalities. But as different as each one was, they shared a common characteristic that we are called to emulate. They lived the types of lives that truly reflected the love and grace of Jesus.
Those that we will remember when we celebrate All Saints Sunday this year, all also followed their calling in different and distinct ways. Like those other saints, they lived the types of lives that truly reflected the love and grace of Jesus. And, while we take the time to honor the memory of those who have finished the race and now live with God,
All Saints Sunday reminds us that we are called to reflect the love and grace of Jesus in our daily lives.
This Sunday, we remember:
Judy Bartay, Audrey Cannon, Shelby Field, Cornelia Gladden, David Hamner, Joan Harris, John Robert (Bob) Jones, Patty Kreitz, Graham Lloyd, Dan Lubbock, William (Bill) McCorkle, Patsy McElroy (Melissa Burnham’s mother), Mary Speer, Priscilla Thomas, Ralph Walker