God’s Word at Work
All Saints Day
November 5, 2023
Psalm 43 and 1 Thessalonians 2-9-13
We have just spent a month on stewardship, and now we can breathe easy, right? Well, not exactly.
Studying, contemplating and planning for stewardship dedication is just the beginning of greater things to come. It is in stewardship that the blessings begin to flow, and dedication is a recommitment of our mission as Disciples of Christ.
Today is All Saints Day, and as I think back through my history of saints that have touched my life alone, it is overwhelming. Those saints, those special people in my life have helped get me to where I am today. They loved me and nurtured me, and they shared a piece of themselves with me in some form or fashion. This is at the very heart of stewardship. It is giving of our time and of ourselves.
Let’s pause for just a moment so you can think of a saint that has touched your life. Now, like me, I’m sure there are many, but let’s pause to consider just one. When you have that person in mind, say a prayer of thanksgiving. (pause)
When I consider the saints of past in our church, I consider how they left their imprint on this church, this congregation and this community.
I think about the writers of Thessalonians who labored and toiled, working day and night, not wanting to burden anyone as they proclaimed the gospel of God.
How they considered the people witnesses, and how they acted pure, upright and blameless toward them as believers of God.
They treated their people as if they were their children, urging and encouraging them to lead a life worthy of God. Think about the saints that urged and encouraged you to do the same.
So many times we think we are not worthy to be in God’s presence, yet we are called by God into his own kingdom and glory. Once we come to terms with the fact that we are children of God, we can give thanks to God for the generosity that is bestowed upon us. We can be like the saints before us urging and encouraging others to lead a life worthy of God.
So the question becomes, how do we lead a life worthy of God? It sounds so simple….we live in the light and love of God. The same light and love shown to us by Jesus. The same light and love of the Disciples and the reformers who visited us last week, and the same light and love of the saints that have gone on before us to rest in eternal peace with our Abba, Father.
Yesterday, at our Flint River Presbytery zoom meeting, I was tasked with bringing the Word for the day on unity. We considered the good and precious oil that God pours upon us to nourish us in community with one another. Once nourished, we become aware of kindred spirits living in the Word of God, living in unity. It is in this unity that we are able to strengthen each other in faith and help each other in healing a broken world through God’s mission and vision.
As we are told in our scripture today, when you receive the Word of God, it is not a human word, it is divine, and we can begin to allow the Word to come alive in and through us.
Think about those saints who urged and encouraged you. Think about their smiles and laughter, the warmth that exuded from their hugs. Think about how they shared knowledge and experience that enriched your life.
We are living in a world of chaos, hatred and war. Because we do, it is important that we remain focused on love and all that it brings. It is important that we become like the saints who have gone before us, and impart the wisdom and knowledge of God’s word, God’s way of life. As we live our lives, we never know who is watching us, who is patterning their life after ours. Are we living the best life that represents who God is — a life filled with love for others?
When we get discouraged, we can call upon God to send out his light and truth, and to lead us to where we need to go to fulfill his will in the world.
Like the Psalmist, our hope is in God who is our help in times of trouble.
If life becomes overwhelming, turn off the news, and find a quiet spot to rest. Call upon God to be present with you in that moment. Turn your troubles over to God, let them go, and simply say, “here I am God.” Give yourself time to just be in the presence of God without thoughts….and simply rest.
In this month of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to the saints that have urged and encouraged us in our lives. Let us give thanks for their presence, their guidance, and their wisdom. Likewise, let us give thanks to a God who loves us where we are in our lives in all our humanness. A God that leads us to a life of helping others know love they might not otherwise know. Let us live a life that is worthy that when we reach our eternal home, someone looks back on us with a fond memory of how we encouraged them, how we made them feel special, and how we showered them with an abundance of love.
*Cover Art by Unsplash, used with subscription.